By Peter Gleason
Villanova has come back to earth after Butler handed the Cats their first loss last Saturday.
The Wildcats (13-1, 1-1 Big East) host Marquette and red-hot Markus Howard tomorrow night at the Wells. Howard scored a school-record 52 points on Wednesday.
Villanova fell 101-93 at Butler last Saturday in a wild game in which the Bulldogs converted 15 of 22 shots from beyond the arc. Jalen Brunson led the Wildcats with a career high-tying 31 points while Mikal Bridges scored 21.
The 101 points were the most allowed by Villanova since a 101-80 loss at Creighton on Feb. 16, 2014.
“We just have to go back, watch the film, and get to work in practice,” Bridges (above) said.
“We knew we weren’t where we want to be defensively and this is the best offensive team we have faced this season,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “We have been outscoring people but you weren’t going to outscore this team (Saturday). Butler was outstanding and deserves the credit.”
Donte DiVincenzo added 16 points and Eric Paschall had 15 for Villanova, which shot 53.5 percent. Butler shot 60 percent.
“I thought Butler moved the ball extremely well, especially in transition,” Wright said. “The passes were crisp and everyone was ready to catch and shoot. Butler played with great confidence. That’s how you get open looks. I just thought they killed us in transition.”
Marquette (11-4, 2-1) won a wild 95-90 game in overtime Wednesday night at Providence as Howard finished 17 of 29 from the field and 11 of 19 on 3-pointers.
Howard’s 52 points tied the Big East record previously set Providence’s Marshon Brooks against Notre Dame on Feb. 23, 2011. He also broke the old school record of 44 set by Tony Smith (Feb. 19, 1990 against Wisconsin) and Mike Moran (Feb. 5, 1958 against Creighton).
He leads the Big East in scoring at 22.6 points per game.
“My teammates had complete trust in me and my whole thing I was doing out there,” Howard told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I give all the credit to them just because when they give you that confidence in yourself, as well as the coaching staff, you have a great feeling as a player to be able do the things that, not only myself, but a lot of people on our team did tonight.”
Howard shot 15 of 21 in the second half and overtime and knocked down 9 of 13 from 3-point territory. He poured in 42 points after halftime.