In one of the most anticipated games of the early season, the undefeated Villanova Wildcats went on the road to face the undefeated Creighton Bluejays. The game certainly lived up to the hype as the ‘Cats won 80-70 in a hard fought Big East battle. The ‘Cats improved to 14-0, the best start in school history. The win also extends Villanova’s winning streak to 20, dating back to the start of the NCAA Tournament last year.
Jalen Brunson led the ‘Cats with 16 first half points and 27 for the game while Kris Jenkins added 21 points. Josh Hart got off to a slow start, but continued his player of the year campaign with 18 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year.
The Bluejays got off to a hot start taking an early 24-14 lead. Nova roared back behind 8 straight points from Brunson and a big three from Jenkins to take a 25-24 lead. The teams traded buckets until Creighton was able to pull away to a 41-36 lead with a minute left in the half. The ‘Cats closed the half strong with back to back huge three pointers from Brunson and Jenkins to go into halftime with a 42-41 lead.
The Wildcats established their pace of play in the second half to jump out to a 63-54 lead with about ten minutes left in the game. Creighton refused to go down easily as they made a run behind two big dunks from redshirt freshman Justin Patton. The Bluejays tied the game 63-63 with 7:41 left in the game. From that point on, every possession became huge for each side. Nova was able to make the most of theirs behind clutch mid range jumpers by Jalen Brunson and a huge offensive rebound and putback by Josh Hart with about four minutes left.
On the other side of the ball, ‘Nova clamped down defensively in the last 5 minutes of the game. Jay Wright switched between a zone and man to man defense to throw off the Bluejays offense. The ‘Cats held them without a field goal for nearly a four minute stretch to pull away late in the game. The final score of 80-70 does not indicate how close this game was throughout.