Villanova Defense the Difference

Villanova Defeats Providence 68 – 50

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/4/2024 –

The Villanova Wildcats ended a five-game losing streak, the immediate objective. The game gave the appearance of an offensive struggle for both teams. So, if the offense is not going, rely on the defense, and that is exactly what Villanova did in a 68 – 50 win over the Providence Friars at the Wells Fargo Center.

“I was really proud of the way our guys came out defensively,” said Villanova Coach Kyle Neptune. “In terms of our effort, we played extremely hard. We were really locked in. It was a great defensive effort. And because of our defensive effort and how hard we came out, we made some shots as well.”

D – Up

The Wildcats established themselves in the first half. The Friars made just 4 of 24 field goal attempts for a season-low 17%. Their lowest shooting percentage of any half this season. Providence made 2 of 16 three-pointers (12.5%) which is not their lowest three-point percentage of the season. That was a 1 for 13 night against Xavier.

The reason was taking away Providence options. Villanova doubled the post which forced the big men to pass the ball out of the post. The guards drove the lane but were met with a wall under the basket. That forced shots from the outside that were not falling.

“There wasn’t a lot of space for them to operate,” Neptune said.

This game marked the lowest point output for Providence this season. The previous low was 51 against Oklahoma.

Offensive Improvement

Villanova was not a juggernaut on offense early, but did get open chances especially in the second half. The turnaround began by scoring the first 13 points of the second half. Midway through the latter twenty minutes a 24 – 5 run pushed Nova to a 50 – 24 lead, their largest of the game.

“I thought our guys really shared the ball,” said Neptune. “They were trying to take away Dixon, and to his credit, he got rid of it. Then, when you get stops you go on transition and we got some easy baskets.

What the Numbers Say

Eric Dixon was the leading scorer for the Wildcats getting 12 points. Strength in numbers as all but one Nova player scored. Brendan Hausen added 11 points. Two players; TJ Bamba and Hakim Hart posted 9. Villanova assisted 17 times on 27 baskets. Hart handed out a team-high 5 assists.

The Friars would up shooting 15 for 51 (29.4%) from the floor and 7 of 33 from deep. However, they did make all 13 of their foul shots.

Providence forward Josh Oduro scored a game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds. He went 10 for 10 from the free throw line. Guard Devin Carter added 17 points and Devonte Gaines had 10. Jayden Pierre rounded out the PC scoring getting 5.

Up Next

Villanova (12 – 10, 5 – 6) travels to Cincinnati for a Wednesday night game against Xavier. Now, the team can start off a winning streak. That is the only change.

“That’s what we preach in the locker room,” Bamba said. “Our approach today would have been the approach for the next game, and the next game. Every single day we just go in with one goal in mind and that’s to play as hard as we can, and to treat that game like it was the last.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


TJ Bamba Who Scored 9 Points

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