Butler narrowly escaped Villanova on Thursday night, defeating the tenth ranked Wildcats, 79-76. Villanova’s Saddiq Bey hit a transition three to tie the game at 76 with 30 seconds to go, but Kamar Butler nailed a three right before time expired to give Butler the win.
Villanova started the game hot, hitting three field goals, including a Connor Gillespie three pointer, to gain a 7-4 lead over the Bulldogs. However, Butler stormed back, going an 8-2 run to take a six point lead.
Butler closed the half on a 20-11 run, grabbing a 42-38 point lead into the break. Villanova would not hold a lead at any point in the second half.
The Bulldogs held a ten point advantage on two separate occasions in the contest, but Jay Wright’s squad clawed back each time. With one minute to play, Bey hit a three point jumped to cut the Butler lead to one. After Sean McDermott hit two clutch free throws, Bey got a long pass from Gillespie and knocked down another three to tie the game.
Butler would hold for the last shot, when it found Kamar Baldwin for the three pointer with just one second to tick. Baldwin nailed the shot, giving Butler a 79-76 lead, which would hold and end as the final score, with nineteenth ranked Butler topping tenth ranked Villanova in Indiana.
Bey led the Wildcats with 29 points, shooting over 50% from the field. For Butler, McDermott went for 21, making seven of eight of his field goal attempts.
Villanova will have yet another test on Saturday when it hosts a formally raging hot Seton Hall squad coming off of a tough loss. Both teams will try to get back in the win column and pick up a quadrant one win. On Sunday, Butler travels to Wisconsin to face off with Markus Howard and Marquette.
Featured image credits: VU Hoops