All good things must come to an end, and that was the case for Villanova’s record winning streaks as Butler handed them their first loss of the season 66-58. It was the first win for the Bulldogs over the Wildcats in school history, and the fans stormed the court at Hinkle Fieldhouse following the victory.
Josh Hart shot just 3-11 as the team shot a season low 37.3% from the field in the loss. The shooting was even worse from deep, as the Cats went 6-26 on 23.1% shooting. Jalen Brunson led all scorers with 23 points, but only had 2 assists on the night. Josh Hart, who had some foul trouble, finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds, while Kris Jenkins added 11 points. Four Butler players would finish in double figures.
Nova’s defense did it’s job, holding Butler to just 45% from the floor and 25% from deep. But it was the +11 rebounding for the Bulldogs, a perfect 15-15 at the line, and late Villanova turnovers that would ultimately doom the Wildcats.
In the first half, Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, and Jalen Brunson led a balanced scoring attack with 8 points each. While Hart was an uncharacteristic 1-4 from the floor, he still had 5 first half rebounds to lead all players. On the defensive end, Villanova held Butler to just 38.5% shooting from the floor and just 21.4% on 3-14 from deep.
Jay Wright was called for the rare Technical Foul after getting fired up on what he thought was a missed call. It took multiple coaches and players to hold him back, a much different look for the usually calm and collected Wright. But it fired up the Cats who were able to hold a 4 point lead at the half.
Villanova will head home for their first game of the season at the Wells Fargo Center this Saturday as they look to rebound against Marquette.
Villanova made its fourth ever trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse, where it had won each of it’s previous three games by an average of less than four points. Facing a second ranked team and its sellout crowd in a raucous arena in as many games would be a challenge for the Cats, but one they were prepared for. The starting lineup with Phil Booth on the sidelines continued to be Hart, Jenkins, Reynolds, Brunson, and Bridges.
Villanova won the tip, but were unable to convert on their initial possession. Butler would commit a turnover on the other end though, and this time Josh Hart was able to hit the corner three after jab stepping his defender off the ball. Butler answered with a lay-in in the paint, but it was Hart on the other end again. This time he was fouled on a turnaround jumper in the paint and converted both free throws.
Not to be outdone, Butler’s leading scorer Keelan Martin was able to connect from deep, cutting the Villanova lead back to just one. After a few trips up and down the court which included a number of misses and turnovers, Darryl Reynolds was able to hit a hook shot in the paint. But the next possession Martin hit another corner three to tie the game at 7 with just over 15 minutes left in the first.
Brunson was able to beat his man to the rim for a quick to to get the lead back for Villanova before the first media timeout. The Wildcat defense was already showing its claws, forcing 4 Butler turnovers in the first 5 minutes of the game while only committing one of their own. Out of the timeout, the Cats switched to a zone defense, which resulted in another empty possession for Butler.
After the teams traded misses, Kris Jenkins was able to nail a catch and shoot three to extend Nova’s lead to 5. Butler continued to struggle from deep, going just 1-6 in the first eight minutes. Still, their +2 rebounding margin at the second media timeout was keeping Nova’s lead at 5 with 11:52 left in the half.
Out of the timeout, Butler committed a moving screen offensive foul, and Donte DiVincenzo was able to get to the line on the other end, going 1-2 to push the lead up to 6. Villanova’s zone defense continued to force Butler into deep threes, and eventually a shot clock violation. At this point, Butler had missed 8 straight field goals. On the other end, Hart found Darryl Reynolds under the basket where he was able to flush it home.
Butler was finally able to get some points on the board on a questionable blocking foul on Josh Hart, cutting the lead back down to 6 with just over 10 minutes left in the half. Then they were able to strip Brunson on the next possession and bring it down the court for a pull up jumper to cut it to 4. Eric Paschall missed a contested jumper on Nova’s next possession, and Butler again took advantage by connecting from deep to cut the lead to just 1 with 8:31 left.
On Nova’s next possesion, a three point attempt by Bridges appeared to be partially tipped, but was called as Butler’s ball. Replay would later show the call was correct. Jay Wright was furious with the call and got a Technical Foul. Butler was able to connect on both free throws to take a one point lead while Nova’s entire team needed to hold back a visibly furious Wright. Butler wasn’t able to score on their next possession, but they still had a 15-16 lead off a 9-0 run with 7:33 left in the half. Luckily, the media timeout would give Nova a chance to regain its composure, despite the chants of “Jay Wright sucks!” coming from the Butler faithful.
Villanova came out of the timeout and missed two shots, but was able to grab both offensive rebounds before drawing a foul. On the ensuing inbound, Hart was able to drive the lane and again get to the line, this time putting the Cats into the Bonus. Hart converted both attempts to give Nova the lead back at 17-16. Nova forced a contested shot on the other end that Butler missed, and Jenkins would make them pay on the other end with a wide open deep three. Butler got an equally wide open look from deep on the other end, but again missed. Jenkins would pump fake this time and make a nifty move to the hoop for a lay-up, and just like that Nova as back up 6 with just under 5 minutes to play.
Andrew Chrabascz was able to make a floater to cut the lead to four, but Josh Hart was able to again make his way to the foul line, going just 1-2 this time. Butler wouldn’t let the Cats pull away, and made two quick baskets including one from deep to tie the game at 23-23. DiVincenzo was able to drive the baseline and get fouled to head to the final media timeout of the half with 2:50 left.
DiVincenzo would make both free throws to give Nova the two point lead again before he was subbed for Bridges in an offense/defense move. On the other end, Reynolds had a great block, but Jenkins wasn’t able to finish in the paint on the other end. Butler would air ball, leading to a Brunson jumper in the paint. And as if it were deja vu, another Butler air ball led to another Brunson jumper in the paint to push the Villanova lead to 6. Butler was able to hit a quick pull up to cut the lead back to 4 before Nova called a timeout with 0:41 remaining.
Out of the timeout, Brunson drove into the lane and was able to hit a terrific lay-up off a stop and go move. But Butler was able to hit a runner on the other end as time expired to cut Nova’s lead to 4. While Villanova held the 31-27 lead, this game could still go either way.
Butler started the second half with a travel after Nova switched back to man, but Hart wasn’t able to convert from deep on the other end. This time, Butler was able to score from the paint and cut the lead back to 2. But the lead was quickly pushed back up to 4 as Brunson continued to find luck driving the lane. On Butler’s next possesion, Brunson picked off a tipped pass but was unable to convert.
Andrew Chrabascz nailed a three on the other end to cut the lead to one, and after a battle on the floor for a loose ball on the other end, Butler was able to cherry pick for a 1 point lead. The teams traded baskets before Butler was called for a pushing foul that triggered a media timeout. The Bulldogs led 35-36 with 15:34 left in the game.
Out of the timeout, Josh Hart missed a short jumper, but Nova was able to grab two offensive rebounds before a jump ball was called and Nova got to inbound. This time, Jenkins was able to catch and shoot from three to give Nova the lead back, but it was short lived as Butler was able to tie it in the paint again.
On the next possession, Nova had trouble getting a good shot as they continued to work it around deep into the shot clock. Brunson finally realized the shot clock was down to 3 seconds and launched from ten feet behind the arc, hitting nothing but net to push Nova’s lead back to 3 with around 13 minutes remaining.
On defense, Nova continued to make Butler work for a clean shot, forcing multiple shot clock violations. After trading empty possessions, Martin was finally able to make his way to the line after giving Josh Hart his third foul. He made both to cut into Nova’s lead and send Hart to the bench. With 11:42 left in the game, Villanova barely held the lead at 41-40.
The teams traded empty possessions out of the timeout before DiVincenzo hit an open three over Butler’s now zone defense. On the other end Chrabascz used a head fake to drive the lane and get to the line. He made both to cut the Nova lead back to 2 as Josh Hart re-entered for the Wildcats with 10 minutes to play.
Both teams missed open threes before Brunson used a fake in the lane to get an easy two, but Butler nailed a deep three to cut the Nova lead back down to 1 as the Bulldogs refused to give Nova any breathing room. On the next possession, Reynolds pulled up at the line for a jump shot and was fouled. He made 1-2 from the line to bump Nova’s lead back up to 2 with under 8 minutes to play.
On Butler’s possession, Andrew Chrabascz was able to grab an offensive rebound and hit a floater in the lane to tie the game at 47 each. Paschall missed a three and Butler missed a lay-up before Brunson was able to draw a foul and trigger the media timeout with the game tied and 6:24 left in the game.
Jenkins missed a three out of the timeout, but Butler came up empty as well. Brunson had a great look on a drive to the lane but was unable to connect. Butler’s Martin had an open look from three, but he too was off the mark. It was Josh Hart who finally came through for his team, hitting a lay-up and drawing the foul (which he made) to give Nova the three point lead.
Butler answered with a finger roll in the lane, and Hart was unable to hit from deep for Nova to answer. Butler grabbed an offensive rebound for an easy two to grab a 1 point lead with just over 3:30 to go. But Josh Hart came right back and answered with a pull up in the lane. Butler came right back with a two point drive of their own, and with 2:55 left in the game it was the Bulldogs up 52-53.
Mikal Bridges came up short on a three out of the timeout, and Butler capitolized on the other end with a two to push their lead to 3, the largest of the game. Jenkins pass was stolen on the next possession and Butler’s Savage was able to hit a layup in transition while drawing the foul to give the Bulldogs a 5 point lead with 1:46 remaining in the game.
Savage made the free throw to push the lead to 6. Brunson was able to draw a foul on the Savage, his fifth, making both to cut the lead to 4. Nova went into their 1-2-2 press, and Bridges was called for a foul (Nova had one to give). Butler was able to break the press, but came up short on the shot. However, in transition Butler’s Baldwin baldwin was able to steal the ball from Josh Hart and hit a reverse layup to bring the Bulldog lead back to 6 with 55.4 seconds remaining.
Jenkins missed a three, but Hart was able to grab the rebound and find Brunson who drove for another two in the paint with 41 seconds left. Butler was able to break Nova’s press and run 8 seconds off the clock before Nova could foul. They hit both free throws, remaining perfect on the night. Brunson was able to get his defender in the air behind the arc and draw the foul, but his foot was on the line so he’d only be shooting two with 20.7 seconds remaining.
Brunson made both to again cut the lead to 4. Nova fouled before the ball was even in-bounded to send Butler to the line for a 1-1. Tyler Lewis hit both to again push the Butler lead up to 6, and now the Wildcats would need things to fall their way if they were going to remain undefeated.
Brunson tried to draw a quick foul, but when it didn’t come he found DiVincenzo in the corner for a three attempt that went a little long off the rim. Butler hit both free throws to remain perfect at the line, Brunson air balled his three attempt, and that would be all as the Butler faithful stormed the court. Villanova suffered its first loss of the season, 66-58.