January 22, 2020 / 2:29 AM / a month ago

No. 9 Villanova hands No. 13 Butler 3rd straight loss

EditorsNote: Clarifies stats in lead; adds Bryce Golden’s first name in graf 4; other minor edits

Jan 21, 2020; Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA; Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright (left) talks with forward Saddiq Bey (41) and forward Brandon Slater (3) and forward Jermaine Samuels (23) during the first half against the Butler Bulldogs at Finneran Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jermaine Samuels tallied 20 points and seven rebounds, Saddiq Bey added 14 points and six boards, and Justin Moore chipped in 14 to lead No. 9 Villanova to a 76-61 victory over visiting No. 13 Butler in Big East Conference action on Tuesday night at Finneran Pavilion.

The Wildcats, winners of 11 of their last 12 games, including five in a row, shot 21-for-23 on free throws and dominated on the glass with 43 rebounds. The Wildcats (15-3, 5-1) shot 9-for-25 on 3-pointers.

Butler, which won 15 of its first 16 games this season, has now dropped three consecutive conference games after shooting 25 percent (5-for-20) on 3-pointers against Villanova. The Bulldogs (15-4, 3-3) were led by Kamar Baldwin, who finished with 21 points.

The Wildcats raised their lead to 43-26 on consecutive 3-pointers and a free throw by Bey in the opening minute of the second half. The Bulldogs used a 9-2 run to slice the deficit to 45-35 following a Bryce Golden 3-pointer. Trailing 49-37, the Bulldogs fought back with an 8-0 run, highlighted by six straight points by Baldwin at the 11:20 mark.

Just like in the first half, the Wildcats answered with a run of their own, seizing a 56-45 lead after a Justin Moore 3-pointer with 9:03 remaining.

Samuels scored six points in a span of 1:15 to extend the lead to 62-49 with 4:18 left, while Moore hit four late free throws to seal the win.

The battle of highly ranked conference rivals started off with a number of first-half runs. The Bulldogs broke out to an 8-2 lead, but the Wildcats answered with a 10-0 run to take a 12-8 edge on a jumper by Samuels. The Bulldogs clawed back from a nine-point hole when Golden scored on a layup to lower the gap to 27-24 with 4:33 left.

The Wildcats scored five straight points to regain control of the game, then held the Bulldogs scoreless in the final 2:01 to build a 36-26 lead at halftime. The Wildcats shot 6-for-17 on 3-pointers and dominated the boards with a 24-16 advantage in the opening half.

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