In a match that they had to win, the Villanova Wildcats found a way back late to defeat the Marquette Golden Eagles 61-67. Jermaine Samuels put his teammates on the back with 29 points, 9 rebounds and 1 assists. It was a career high for the second birthday and outperformed his points production for the last ten combined games.
The Wildcats scored 8-0 in the final minutes to come back from behind. Despite the team's desperate shooting throughout the match, senior Phil Booth managed to hit two late free throws to give Nova a comfortable lead. Suitably, Jermaine Samuels shot the ball in his hands. Villanova is only half a match behind Marquette in conference with a week and a half to play in the regular season.
The game began as a hard physical fight on both sides. Marquette had problems with fast turnover, while Villanova did not make his first basket before the fifth minute. Jermaine Samuels led the Wildcats in the first half with 15 points, 3 rebounds and one assist. Phil Booth and Eric Paschall struggled in the first period, combining 8 points on 2 of 11 shots.
Stay tuned for more analysis and quotes later tonight.
- It was a white night for Villanova's senior night, honoring Phil Booth, Eric Paschall, Tim Delaney, Joe Cremo and Peyton Heck. A white t-shirt was provided to all those present in case they were not already dressed for the occasion.
- Special guest Mikal Bridges was also honored with the senior day that he had never had during his last season at Nova. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Suns star did not put on his Wildcat jersey for this one.
Bridges was not the only one to come back for a visit. Randy Foye and Kevin Rafferty were also present to watch the match.
- Both teams played a solid physical defense to start the game. Nova Nation was standing for the first five minutes until Jermaine Samuels drove the track for a huge dunk.
- Despite a break at halftime, Marquette beat Villanova (+4) and shot better (+ 12%) in the first half. The main reason they were down four was to lose the battle of the turnover (-7).