Justin Moore Scores 22 Points as The Wildcats Storm Out to a 75 – 41 Win Over the Blue Jays
January 5, 2022 –
Three games and a pause ago Villanova lost to Creighton by twenty points. A different story at the Finneran Pavilion in this one as the Wildcats defeated the Blue Jays 75 – 41. It was the lowest points scored by Creighton this season. The Wildcats learned many lessons from the game in Omaha, and applied them in this game. Nova is getting it.
“We’re getting better,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “Our game out there, we learned a lot. When you get beat like that, and your humble and smart, you learn. If you’re arrogant, you dismiss it.”
Villanova did not dismiss. The defense was more physical and disrupted the Creighton offense. On the other side of the ball the Wildcats had four players score in double figures led by Justin Moore who scored a game-high 22 points, and in the first half posted 13 points to give Villanova a 36 – 22 lead at intermission behind an 18 – 5 run. And the Cats did it with Collin Gillespie on the bench with two fouls. Other players especially Moore stepped up, to show to give the team energy and improvement.
“That shows the growth of our team,” Wright said. “It’s showing the young guys are starting to step up and understand what we’re doping. When we go into these stretches earlier, we would look disjointed. It’s part of Justin Moore’s leadership realizing Collin’s out and I’ve got to take over. When he (Gillespie) goes out Justin knows, I’ve got to take over. I’ve got to step up here. It’s amazing that he did that guarding Hawkins who killed us last time.”
Ryan Hawkins is the leading scorer for Creighton who put up 19 points in the previous game. Tonight Hawkins did not score.
In the second half the Wildcats scored the first 10 points of the stanza. Moore had the first seven and 9 of the Nova’s first 12 points. Nova took control, and won the second half 39 – 19.
“You want to come out and set the tone right away in the second half,” said Moore. “No let up. We were winning, but wanted to continue to play forty minutes of Villanova basketball. It started out with us playing as hard as we can, and the shots went in.”
Jermaine Samuels scored 18 points and took down 7 rebounds, 4 on offense. Gillespie totaled 11 points and drained 3 of 5 from beyond the arc while handing out 5 assists. Brandon Slater added 10 points. Eric Dixon was one point shy of double figures making 4 of 5 from the floor.
And Creighton (10 – 4, 2 – 1) is no longer undefeated in the Big East.
“It’s nice to get the win, but we’re worried about the next game and getting better,” said Samuels.
Alex O’Connell led the Blue Jays with 13 points. The team was held to 16 of 45 from the floor (35.6%), and made but 3 of 24 from distance.
With the win Wright got his 500th win at Villanova. And did so in humble fashion.
“I can’t wait to get 500 more,” Wright said. “It’s a tribute to being at Villanova. Look at the history. Every coach that has been here has won. It’s the greatest place to coach college basketball and it’s because of great players and we’ve had a lot of great players. Look at any coach that has five hundred wins, they had a lot of great players. And we certainly have.”
Wright received high accolades from Creighton Coach Greg McDermott.
“I’d like to congratulate Coach Wright on his 500th win at Villanova,” McDermott said. “He’s what’s right about college basketball, and has been a great leader in this league. What he has done and continues to do is incredible.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian