Another day, another Villanova comeback that fell short.
This time, the ‘Cats tried to rally and although they briefly grabbed the lead with 2:27 to go, they were unable to complete the comeback against the shorthanded Oregon Ducks and lost, 74-67.
“Our guys fought, we had our chances,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough in the end.”
While Villanova was without two prominent players in Cam Whitmore and Justin Moore, Oregon was limited to just six scholarship players due to numerous injuries in its roster. As a result, the Ducks had to turn to several walk-ons to help fill the gaps, including a large one left behind by leading scorer and rebounder N’Faly Dante.
Despite the absences, Oregon was clearly no pushover. It led for a vast majority of the game, while the ‘Cats only led for a total of 38 seconds on Sunday afternoon.
Even with the dire situation, the ‘Cats found a way to battle back from a double-digit deficit and even had a chance towards the end.
Oregon led, 35-31, going into the break. Villanova never went away quietly and after a stretch where it was a one or two-possession game coming down the homestretch, the ‘Cats tied it up at 64 on an Eric Dixon basket. Brendan Hausen followed up with at three-pointer, giving the ‘Cats a 67-64 lead with 2:27.
It didn’t last long though, as Quincy Guerrier answered right back with a three to tie it.
The Wildcats never scored for the remainder of the game, while Oregon followed up with a 7-0 run to seal the victory. Will Richardson spun through traffic and hit a turnaround jumper that ended up being the dagger, then the Ducks made a few free throws to clinch the win.
“We just couldn’t execute,” Neptune said of the last few minutes. “We couldn’t get rebounds, couldn’t get stops.”
Guerrier had a game-high 21 points for the Ducks, with eight rebounds. He also shot 6-of-10 from long range. Richardson finished with 19 points, eight assists and a steal. Kel’el Ware had 13 points, seven boards, an assist and two blocks. Rivaldo Soares chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds. Lok Wur added eight points and four rebounds off the bench.
The Ducks outrebounded the ‘Cats, 42-30.
“We don’t worry about the size, we pride ourselves on being able to rebound with anyone and play with anyone, we just couldn’t get it done,” Neptune said.
For Villanova, Caleb Daniels played all 40 minutes and paced the ‘Cats with 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting, with four boards, five assists and three turnovers. Brendan Hausen had 15 points off the bench and went 5-of-8 from beond the arc. Eric Dixon had 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting, with six boards. Chris Arcidiacono had nine points on 2-of-3 shooting, with three boards, six assists, no turnovers and a team-high plus-minus rating of +11. Mark Armstrong added six points off the bench. Brandon Slater had five points, nine boards and two blocks.
Villanova falls to 2-5 overall. It is the Wildcats’ first four-game losing streak since February 2012. They will like to put an end to the slump when they return to action on Saturday, Dec. 3.
They’ll host Oklahoma in the first Wells Fargo Center game of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET.