Gillespie hits five 3-pointers, Wildcats dominate Bulldogs 82-42
January 17, 2022
On Sunday, the Big East's two best teams faced off against each other at the Wells Fargo Center. The 14th-ranked Wildcats from Villanova faced off against the Butler Bulldogs, coming off a victory over Xavier. Villanova shot 60 percent while holding Butler at 31 percent resulting in a humiliating 82-42 loss for the Butler.
Guards Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore scored more than a dozen points as the 14th-ranked Villanova Wildcats continued its sixth straight win. "We're starting to be able to do this for 40 minutes," Jay Wright, Wildcats coach, said.
Wildcats' offensive clinic
The game started with a 13-2 lead for the Wildcats. Villanova made their first six shots in the first half and shot a ridiculous 71 percent. They also hit Butler from all over the court, including a highlight play by Caleb Daniels' two-handed baseline dunk.
On top of successful drives in and post-ups, the Wildcats also hit 12 three-pointers.
"We have a lot of growth left in us," the 60-year-old coach said. "We have a lot of improvements still to make. Part of it is getting balance offensively."
The Wildcats went on an 11-0 run in the second half and didn't allow Butler to execute a single shot. In total, the Wildcats had 19 assists on their first 23 baskets. They also prevented the opposition from shooting a free throw in the first half.
The second half was a complete game for the Wildcats, which shot 50 percent from the field and made 10 of 11 free throws.
"We talked about that all the time, making sure that the energy level stays up and that we compete for another 20 minutes, we've got to put together a full 40 minutes and I think we did a pretty good job of making sure we were ready to go in the second half," Wildcats PG said.
Reasons for Butler's humiliating loss
Butler had a very slow start. It let Villanova have a 13-point lead to start the game. Beating the elite Wildcats is hard enough for most of the time. Coming back against them was not a viable option for the Bulldogs.
Over the past two seasons, the Butler men's basketball team has trailed by double digits in 29 of 41 games. The Bulldogs were only able to pull within 31-20 at halftime after falling behind by 26-8 early in the game. That is as close as the team can get to Villanova.
The offensive shortcomings of Butler have been the main reason the team has struggled to win. Aside from missing shots, the other factors that contributed to the team's sluggishness were defensive stops. During the second half, the Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs 21-3.
Bulldogs' star Jair Bolden was even held scoreless by Villanova's defense. The team doesn't have a reliable scoring option, which could change in the future depending on the development of Bo Hodges.
After four Top-12 teams lost to unranked teams on Saturday, the Wildcats would not let this happen again.
The fact is, March Madness is wide open, and many talented teams can still reach the Final Four, including the Wildcats. Villanova is projected to reach the Final Four or even secure the national championship. With that said, the Bulldogs were severely outclassed.