Happy Game Day Nova Nation! Tonight will be the final goodbye for a trio that has been immensely important to Villanova Basketball: Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels, and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree. While they may not be the only scholarship players to leave after this season, they’re the only ones who don’t have the option to come back.
First, just an acknowledgement of what this class represents. This is the final group with ties to the 2018 National Championship. And while they did play a part in winning that title, they’re more known for being the backbone of Villanova basketball following that run of two championships in three seasons. They’ve battled through injuries and doubt, and kept the program at an elite level throughout.
And now they say goodbye to the place they’ve called home. And if history has anything to say about it, it should be a fond farewell.
The last time Villanova had scholarship players in their final year of eligibility playing in their last game at the Pavilion and lost was 2011. Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, and Antonio Pena fell short of beating #4 Pitt as they lost 54-57. But since then, it’s been a very different story.
Over the last decade, there have been six teams featuring a player in their final Pavilion game. In a nod to just how strong the Big East has been, four of those six have come against ranked opponents. But in every single one of those games, the result was the same: A Wildcat Win.
2013: Villanova defeats #17 Marquette 60-56
While it was the final Pavilion game for seniors Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton, it was Darrun Hilliard who shined with 22 points, 3 steals, and 2 assists as unranked Villanova pulled the upset over the Golden Eagles. HIGHLIGHTS
2014: #8 Villanova defeats Butler 67-48
In the final Pavilion game for James Bell and Tony Chennault, it was the senior’s turn to impress. Bell led the way with 11 points, 7 boards, and 3 assits as the Wildcats cruised to victory.
2015: #4 Villanova defeats #25 Providence 89-61
In our first matchup of ranked teams, it was again a huge day for the senior class of Darrun Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinnkston. Hilliard had a game high 24 points along with 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Pinkston also came up big with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Villanova held Providence Star Kris Dunn to just 4 points as they cruised to victory to clinch a Big East Title.
2016: #3 Villanova defeats DePaul 83-62
In the final Pavilion game for legends Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu, Villanova had no problem dismantling DePaul. It was a quiet night for the seniors, who combined for only seven points. But that was less because they weren’t playing well as much as Kris Jenkins could not miss. Jenkins hit 8 threes and had 31 points, foreshadowing his epic three point performance that would come about a month later.
2017: #2 Villanova defeats #23 Creighton 79-63
Not only was this the final Pavilion game for seniors Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, and Darryl Reynolds, it was THE final Pavilion game before it would become The Finn. Hart and Jenkins combined for 31 points, while Reynolds was unfortunately out with an injury. The win would clinch their 4th consecutive Big East Regular Season Outright Championship.
2019: Villanova defeats #10 Marquette 67-61
Phil Booth, Eric Paschall, and Joe Cremo weren’t going to let a Top 10 team come into their home court and push them around. But this senior finale will always be known as the Jermaine Samuels breakout game, when the Sophomore put up 29 points and 9 rebounds to secure the Top 10 victory.
And that brings us up to 2022. The final night in the Pavilion for another group of Villanova greats. Just like in that last highlight, Gus and Raf will be in the house to call the game. The students may be on break, but there will be plenty of them on hand to take on a Top 10 team. It should be a wild one on the Main Line.
For today’s game day poll, we want to know where Nova’s offense is coming from. Will it be the group playing in their final game on campus, or from the rest of the team looking to step up in a big moment to sweep the Big East Champs.
Which group will produce Villanova’s leading scorer?
This poll is closed
The Super Seniors: Gillespie, Samuels, Cosby-Roundtree
The Rest of the Wildcats
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