The Villanova Wildcats lost their third game of the season at the Wells Fargo Center today, this time to the Providence Friars with a final score of 58-54. Villanova scored a season low 18 points in the first half, and were unable to mount a comeback despite cutting the lead to a single possessions multiple times in the final minutes.
Extremely poor shooting and additional foul trouble was the reason for the Wildcats collapse today. Villanova shot a season low 16.7% from three, and only made 50% of their free throws. Saddiq Bey, the teams leading scorer, was held to just 40% from the field and went 1-7 from three before fouling out midway through the second half with 11 points. Collin Gillespie, playing through a thigh bruise that had him questionable coming into the game, led the team with 13 points. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Villanova will now need to win out and get some help if they hope to stay in contention for the Big East Regular Season title and a shot at the #1 Seed in the Big East Tournament. Their next game will be at Seton Hall on Tuesday night.
It was another slow start for the Wildcats, but this time Villanova couldn’t hit a shot from anywhere. Not only were they struggling from the floor, starting 1 for 7, but they missed their first six three point attempts and were just 2 for 7 at the free throw line. That’s when Saddiq Bey turned it on. Bey scored seven points in just over two minutes to bring Nova surging back and give them a one point lead midway through the first half.
Villanova continued playing tough defense through the first half, but there was a lid on the rim offensively. They even continued to struggle at the free throw line, shooting just 22.2%. Providence finished the half on a 16 to 3 run, and the Wildcats went into the locker room with the fewest points they’d scored in a first half all season with a score of 30-18.
In the second half, Villanova started to cut back into the lead. However, every time they seemed to get something going on offense or create a turnover on defense, Providence was able to come up with an answer of their own.
Despite the poor shooting and Saddiq Bey fouling out midway through the second half, Villanova continued to scrap and crawl their way back into the game. Collin Gillespie continued to play through a thigh injury and made some key baskets and free throws as Villanova slowly but surely cut the Providence lead down to just two points. Providence was able to answer with a big shot of their own, but with just over three minutes left in the game, Villanova had dropped the Friars lead from 14 to just 4.
The final few minutes were a back and forth of big shots and big stops. Every time Villanova came within a possession of tying things up or taking the lead, Providence would hit a big shot or find a way to stifle the Wildcats. Eventually though, the cold shooting and mounting fouls were too much for the Wildcats to overcome. Providence defeated Villanova 58-54.