CATS PLAY LIKE DOGS: WORST GAME OF WRIGHT ERA AT NOVA!

By Teddy Brenner

This was supposed to be a high-profile showdown between two Top 10 teams who also played last year in March Madness.

Instead, it turned into the worst game of the two-decade Jay Wright era on the Main Line.

James Akinjo had 16 points and second-ranked Baylor defensively dominated in a 57-36 victory over the sixth-ranked Wildcats, who scored their fewest points and had their worst-shooting game in coach Wright’s 21 seasons.

“We’re a pretty good shooting team. I really chalk up our missed shots to their defense,” Wright said, describing the Bears as physical, tough and quick.

“They did a great job of being physical with us, getting up in us,” Moore said. “Then we make the extra pass, they’re recovering.”

The Bears (9-0) never trailed in their first nonconference home game ever against a top-six opponent, this one a rematch of an NCAA Sweet 16 game last March in Indianapolis. This Big East/Big 12 Battle matchup featured the teams that won three of the last five NCAA titles.

Villanova (7-3) shot only 22% (12 of 54) with several extended scoring droughts in its 689th game under Wright, whose two NCAA titles were both won recently in Texas — in Houston in 2016 and San Antonio in 2018. The 36 points tied the fewest by a top-10 team in the shot clock era (since 1985-86), and marked Nova’s first game under 40 points since 1979.

Justin Moore had 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting for Villanova. and Collin Gillespie was held to just 6.

Top-ranked Purdue lost to Rutgers on Thursday night, clearing the way for Baylor to move up to the No. 1 spot when the new Associated Press poll comes out Monday. Baylor never made it to No. 1 in a poll during the regular season last year on the way to its national title, and last was in that spot during the 2019-20 season.

“It’s exciting, but we honestly don’t really think about that,” Flagler said. “Like Coach (Scott) Drew said, the most important thing is being No. 1 at the end.”

Baylor, which had to overcome a 30-23 halftime deficit in the Sweet 16 matchup, took control with an 11-0 run during a five-minute scoring drought by the Wildcats late in the first half. The Bears led 25-9 before Gillespie made a drought-breaking 3-pointer.

Villanova missed nine in a row in an early scoreless span of more than 7 1/2 minutes while the Bears only scored four points of their own. The Wildcats then missed six shots over more than five minutes during another scoreless drought in the second half.

About admin

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply