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Villanova Basketball overcomes early deficit, defeats UConn 61-55

Another strong defensive effort allowed the ‘Cats to battle back for the comeback victory.

Connecticut v Villanova Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Despite the snowy weather on Saturday, many of the fans showed up to watch the Villanova Wildcats take on the Connecticut Huskies at the Wells Fargo Center. Unfortunately, for many stretches of the game the basketball team didn’t show up to play, but the Wildcats escaped with a 61-55 win over the Huskies.

Leading Villanova was junior forward Jermaine Samuels, who scored eight of his nineteen points in the final four minutes of the game, while contributing five rebounds and three steals as well. The deciding points were scored by Samuels, converting a difficult and-one before hitting a wing three in the final minute to seal the deal. Senior guard Christian Vital had eighteen points and eight rebounds for the Huskies, while junior big man Josh Carlton had twelve points and six rebounds before fouling out late.

The Wildcats lit it up from beyond the arc, shooting 11-23 (47.8%) while UConn shot just 2-15 (13.3%), which was largely the difference in the game. Both teams played zone in the second half, forcing perimeter shooting to be emphasized. UConn coach Dan Hurley said he was proud of the team for staying competitive unlike the last two meetings between the teams, and noted that none of the players on the team have had a winning season in college before (the team finished 16-17 in Hurley’s first year). Meanwhile, Wildcats coach Jay Wright spoke about the versatility of the team, citing the play from Samuels, junior guard Collin Gillespie, and freshman center Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to seal the game down the stretch. Robinson-Earl focused on the positive mindset of the whole team, saying that their attitude was key to the victory.

The Wildcats move to 14-3 on the season, and will take on 5th ranked Butler Tuesday night in the Pavilion. Tipoff is at 8:30 and the game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.