The #19 Villanova Wildcats dominated the Creighton Blue Jays 75-41 on Wednesday night to avenge the 20-point whoopin’ they took earlier this season.
The story of the first half was the defensive effort from the ‘Cats. Villanova won the turnover battle 10-3 and tallied 17 rebounds. Creighton, though not necessarily having a bad shooting night, was flustered by the ‘Cats switches early. The Blue Jays failed to capitalize on mismatches and were unable to extend possessions - grabbing just 2 offensive rebounds in the half.
The first half also saw heavy minutes from both Bryan Antoine and Jordan Longino. Antoine, looking to finally see some consistent game action, logged 13 minutes while Longino clocked 12 of his own. While neither made it into the scoring column during the first frame, they combined for 4 rebounds and played some solid defense.
Collin Gillespie was sidelined for a large chunk of the first half due to foul trouble but, unlike games in the past, Justin Moore was able to step up as the team’s primary ball-handler. Except for a few head-scratching shots, Moore was solid in the first half - scoring 13 points and pacing an offense that has occasionally seen the wheels fall off with Gillespie on the pine. Jermaine Samuels dropped in 9 of his own in the first half and pulled down 4 rebounds - three on offense to extend possessions. Villanova took a 36-22 lead into the break.
The ‘Cats came out firing in the second half - stretching the lead to 21 points in just two minutes. From that point on, it was all Villanova as the ‘Cats cruised to a convincing 75-41 victory.
Justin Moore finished with 22 points while Jermaine Samuels chipped in a “quiet,” and physical, 18 of his own along with 7 boards. Collin Gillespie, despite missing most of the first half, finished with 11 points and 5 assists. Brandon Slater finished with 10 points on an efficient 3-4 from the floor.
Most Villanova fans have been clamoring to see what Bryan Antoine (26 min.) and Jordan Longino (20 min.) could bring to this team given some extended minutes. The first quarter of this season showed that the ceiling of a 6.5 man squad is limited. Any contributions from Antoine and Longino - whether those contributions be athleticism, length, quickness, or just pure minutes - open things up for the starters. Villanova’s offense runs on instinct, which will come for both Antoine and Longino with time. At a minimum right now, both look capable of contributing on the defensive end - and that’s a big start.
The ‘Cats climb to 9-4 (3-1) and will tip off against DePaul on Saturday afternoon (2:00pm) on FS1.