By Jerry Wein

Justin Moore scored 25 points and visiting Villanova edged No. 16 Xavier 64-63, handing first-year head coach Kyle Neptune his biggest W.

Cam Whitmore added 11 points for the Wildcats (14-14, 8-9 Big East), who dealt a big blow to the Musketeers’ conference title hopes.

Villanova overcame a 13-point deficit in the second half. Neptune dismissed the notion that it was his team’s top win.

“We don’t really look at it like that,” he said.

“We always just want to be the best team we can be by the end of the season. That’s our goal. Our guys are proud. We played extremely hard.”

Souley Boum led the Musketeers (20-8, 12-5 Big East) with 17 points.

The Musketeers beat Villanova 88-80 on Jan. 7.

Xavier played its sixth game without second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Zach Freemantle, who scored 29 points in an 88-80 win at Villanova on Jan. 7. Freemantle has a foot injury and is expected to return by the postseason. The Musketeers are 4-3 without him.

Villanova is 12-3 this season when allowing fewer than 70 points, but 1-11 when allowing 70 or more.



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