No. 14 Villanova hits 12 3s in 82-42 romp over Butler

Jan 15, 2022, 9:04 PM | Updated: Jan 16, 2022, 12:07 pm
Villanova head coach Jay Wright shouts from during the first half of an NCAA college basketball gam...

Villanova head coach Jay Wright shouts from during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Butler , Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pa. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jay Wright heard hollering from the Villanova fans who lingered at a bar near his postgame news conference and the Hall of Fame coach needed a score update.

“Who’s up?”

It was bad news for Wright — the Philadelphia Eagles were losing a playoff game.

His only worry of the day was the fate of his favorite football team. The team he coaches, well, a 40-point victory romp was the outcome he wanted most.

Collin Gillespie hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points, and Justin Moore scored 15 points to lead No. 14 Villanova to its sixth straight win, 82-42 over Butler on Sunday.

“We’re starting to be able to do this for 40 minutes,” Wright said.

That’s bad news for the rest of the Big East.

The Wildcats (13-4, 6-1) are rolling again since dropping their conference opener and never let Butler get comfortable at the Wells Fargo Center.

With a noon start, the Wildcats did Philly sports fans a favor and used a 13-2 run to decide this one by halftime — enough time to flip over to catch the opening kickoff of the Eagles’ playoff game at Tampa Bay. The bar areas on the concourse were swarmed with fans who decided to watch playoff football on big screens over the Wildcats stretching their lead to 25 only minutes into the second half.

The only boos all day from the announced crowd of 17,009 — there were many no-shows among that inflated number — came when Buccaneers 7, Eagles 0 was flashed on the big screen.

Butler (9-7, 2-3) had given Wright’s Wildcats fits more than any other team in the Big East since 2016. The Bulldogs’ five wins over that span were the most of any team against Villanova over that span.

Six was never in play.

The Wildcats made their first six baskets and shot a whopping 71% in the first half. Gillespie and Eric Dixon each made all four of their shots and Villanova was 5 of 7 on 3s. The Wildcats hit Butler from all over the court: 3s, post-ups, drives for easy dunks — such as Caleb Daniels’ two-handed baseline jam that woke up the crowd.

The Wildcats hit 12 3-pointers.

“We have a lot of growth left in us,” Wright said. “We have a lot of improvements still to make. Part of it is getting balance offensively.”

The Wildcats found balance in this one: Dixon and Jermaine Samuels each scored 14 points and Wright emptied his bench early in the rout.

The Wildcats opened the second half on an 11-0 run and Butler missed 11 straight shots at one point in a rare lopsided mismatch between the programs. Villanova’s numbers were astounding: 19 assists on its first 23 baskets; did not let Butler shoot a free throw in the first half; had 11 3-pointers at the point Butler made just 14 baskets.

The Wildcats shot 50% in the second half and made 10 of 11 free throws in perhaps their most complete game of the season. They stumbled early against rugged competition — losing to AP Top 25 teams UCLA, Purdue and Baylor — but have steadied themselves with complete efforts in conference play.

“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,” Gillespie said.


Butler: The Bulldogs will want to trash this game film and try and make a quick recovery with three more games over the next seven days.

Villanova: The Wells Fargo Center is the site of the NCAA Tournament East Regional this season and the Wildcats would love to stay close to campus and play here in March. The Wildcats moved to 32-5 at the Center since the 2014-15 season. They play at the home of the 76ers two more times in the regular season, against UConn and Seton Hall next month.


Chuck Harris led Butler with 15 points.

“It’s basketball. They came out hot, they came out torching,” Butler forward Bryce Nze said.

The Bulldogs never scored more than five straight points, shot only 3 of 6 from the free-throw line and scored just 16 baskets. Butler scored only 19 points in the second half. Butler had 12 turnovers.

“We didn’t expect that from ourselves,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said. “We didn’t compete well enough from the jump. We’ll pick ourselves up off the mat and get ready against Connecticut.”


Butler: Play Tuesday at UConn.

Villanova: Retire 2017 Big East player of the year and current New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart’s jersey on Wednesday against Marquette.


More AP college basketball: and and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


San Diego Padres relief pitcher Nick Martinez reacts during the sixth inning of the tema's baseball...
Associated Press

Padres beat Dodgers 4-3 in 10 to reduce magic number to 4

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jorge Alfaro drew a bases-loaded walk from Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the 10th inning and the San Diego Padres beat the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Tuesday night to reduce their magic number for clinching a wild-card berth to four. The Padres started the winning rally […]
24 hours ago
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Robbie Raywals walks through the dugout after he was pulled from ...
Associated Press

Mariners’ late slide continues with 5-0 loss to Rangers

SEATTLE (AP) — Robbie Ray has an idea for how to get the Seattle Mariners refocused and hopefully out of their late-season slide. Stop worrying about what is happening elsewhere. “For me, we’ve just got to stop looking at the scoreboard. If it was my choice, we turn that thing off. Because we need to […]
24 hours ago
Los Angeles Angels' Matt Duffy (5) scores ahead of a throw to Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy...
Associated Press

Jo Adell’s 8th-inning RBI sends Angels past Athletics, 4-3

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jo Adell drove in Matt Duffy with a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning, Shohei Ohtani extended his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games, and the Los Angeles Angels opened their final homestand of the season with a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night. A.J. Puk […]
24 hours ago
San Francisco Giants' Logan Webb pitches to a Colorado Rockies batter during the first inning of a ...
Associated Press

Logan Webb strikes out seven as Giants beat Rockies again

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Joc Pederson won a World Series championship last season with the Atlanta Braves and expected to compete for one this season in San Francisco, only to be out of it in September instead. Logan Webb struck out seven over five innings to win for the fourth time in five starts, and […]
24 hours ago
Houston Astros third base coach Gary Pettis (8) low fives Jose Altuve, right, as he rounds third ba...
Associated Press

Altuve homers twice as Astros rout Diamondbacks 10-2

HOUSTON (AP) — Jose Altuve hit two of Houston’s five home runs to lead the Astros to a 10-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in a game where Yordan Alvarez left with an ankle injury. The Astros, who have already won the American League West title, moved within one win or one […]
24 hours ago
Argentina soccer coach Lionel Scaloni, left, talks to his staff as his players warm up during pract...
Associated Press

Scaloni to remain as Argentina coach through 2026 World Cup

HARRISON, N,J. (AP) — Lionel Scaloni will remain as Argentina’s national team coach through the 2026 World Cup. Chiqui Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, made the announcement after Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over Jamaica in the Albiceleste’s next-to-last tuneup match for this year’s World Cup. “We continue to bet on the comprehensive national […]
24 hours ago
No. 14 Villanova hits 12 3s in 82-42 romp over Butler