Jay Wright Gets 600th Coaching Victory
December 16, 2020 –
For the Villanova Wildcats it’s win number two in the Big East in their initial home game defeating the Butler Bulldogs 85 – 66 at the Finneran Pavilion. It was close in the first half, but the Wildcats pulled away late as the Bulldogs were playing only their second game of the season. The team had paused activity since November 25th.
“It’s a good Big East win,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “They hadn’t played in awhile and towards the end we wore them down. It’s tough on them, but I give them credit for competing. I am proud of our guys. It was a good team effort.”
Butler started out like a team that had played, not a squad coming off a long period of not playing. Villanova led by 7 at halftime. The Bulldogs pulled to within 59 – 53 with just over nine minutes to play. Once the Wildcats got a double-digit lead it became a basket-for-basket game with the Nova lead bouncing between twelve and nine until the three minute mark.
“We executed a little better on offense,” Wright said. “I would have liked to see us do a better job defensively. Our offense kept the spread. We don’t want to trade. They’re really intelligent offensively. When you play good teams, they’re going to do that to you.”
Villanova would close out the game with a 13 – 4 run. During that stretch Butler would not score a field goal.
Balance was a key scoring wise as Nova would have four players score in double figures led by Collin Gillespie and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl who scored 18 points each. Gillespie made 5 of 9 from the field and added 2 three-pointers to go along with a perfect 6 for 6 from the line. He also handed out 5 assists. Robinson-Earl connected on 8 of 12 shots and sank 2 from deep.
Justin Moore scored 13 points and Jermaine Samuels had 12 and pulled down a team-high 6 rebounds. As a team the Cats converted 50% of their 58 tries, and went 10 of 23 from three-point land.
Butler was paced by Jair Bolden with 18 points knocking down 4 from beyond the arc. Aaron Thompson contributed 14 points and Chuck Harris added 12. Bryce Nze grabbed a game-best 8 rebounds. Butler shot 48.9% (22 of 45).
With the victory Jay Wright earned his 600th career coaching win. When asked about it, he cared more about the place rather than the number.
“I feel like I am lucky to be a coach at Villanova,” Wright said. “I look back at the history. Everybody that has been here has won. I have a great job. I am fortunate to have this job. That is what I think about.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian