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Villanova Wildcats defeat Creighton Bluejays 90-78 to remain unbeaten atop the Big East

The Cats continue to improve through mid-January

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Villanova Wildcats got a measure of revenge on Sunday as they defeated the Creighton Bluejays 90-78 in Omaha. Creighton was the last Big East team to defeat the Wildcats last year before they won eleven straight games to win the school’s third National Championship.

Phil Booth led the Cats with 28 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. It was Booth’s third consecutive 20+ point game, and his seventh of the year. Eric Paschall also was a scoring force, pouring in 21 to go along with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Collin Gillespie had 14 points and 5 assists, and Jermaine Samuels also added 13 points and 6 rebounds.

Despite their undefeated conference record, Jay Wright continues to make changes to the starting lineup. On Sunday Jermaine Samuels and Saddiq Bey both returned to the starting lineup. For Samuels it was a huge vote of confidence as he played for 26 minutes and was largely responsible for anchoring the defense. That’s about as much playing time as he had received in the previous three games combined.

Freshman Jahvon Quinerly also continued to improve at the point. While his defense is still prohibiting him from breaking into the starting lineup, his attacking style and ability to finish in the lane continue to open things up for the Villanova offense.

While the Wildcats had a better start than their previous few games, Creighton was still able to build a lead mid-way through the first half. Sophomore Ty-Shon Alexander led the charge for Creighton early, and finished the game with a team high 22 points. The Bluejays held a four point lead at halftime, and opened the second half on a quick run to push their advantage to nine. But that would be as close as Creighton came to victory, as Villanova would go on two 13-0 runs in the second half to put the Wildcats up for good.

Villanova will have a few days off until they host Xavier at 8:30PM EST at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly.