It was the closing game of the Pavilion, and the last hurrah for seniors at their true home arena. However, both teams had a hard time getting things started in the first half. The first ten minutes weren’t the prettiest for a college basketball game. In fact, after ten minutes, both teams combined for only 16 points. Villanova was leading 10-6 after a pair of Kameron Woods free throws. There were more missed baskets by both teams (18) than total points (16). Villanova started to pick up the pace a little bit, scoring 24 points in the last 10 minutes. During this stretch, the shooting picked up as they went 8 for 15 on the floor. They would also revive themselves from beyond the arc, making three baskets from long range after struggling in the opening ten minutes. The Wildcats were able to bring the lead into double digits. JayVaughn Pinkston sunk a pair of free throws in what looked like the last points of the game. Butler would call a time out with just under two seconds left in the half, much to the crowd’s dismay. Kellen Dunham made an improbable shot from far away to make the score 34-20 into the half.
The lead that the Wildcats built in the first half was just too much for the Butler Bulldogs. James Bell had the opening basket with a three pointer, and the Wildcats would build on the lead from there. A 16-3 run by Villanova pretty much sealed the deal. Villanova would stretch the lead to as far as 29 points, and would cruise onwards to victory. Bell checked out of the game with 3:58 remaining, leaving with 11 points and a standing ovation. He is now just six points away from 1,000, a feat he will most likely accomplish against Marquette. Nick McMahon would check back in with approximately three and half minutes left into the game, much to the crowd’s delight. McMahon had the start for the Wildcats before being pulled after 20 seconds into the game, leaving the crowd scratching their head. Henry Lowe would join him shortly after. Patrick Farrell would complete the trio, after entering for the final 1:02. Everyone on Villanova’s roster got piece of the action tonight. The final score was 67-48.
For Villanova, James Bell and Darrun Hilliard led the scoring with 11 points each. Bell would also grab 7 rebounds and dish out 3 assists. Hilliard chipped in 4 boards. JayVaughn Pinkston had 8 points and 7 rebounds. Tony Chennault added 4 points, 3 rebounds and a steal.
The Bulldogs were paced by Kellen Dunham who finished the game with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Khyle Marshall scored 10 points, grabbed three rebounds, and received a pair of big hits.
Villanova closes the Pavilion with an undefeated record this season. The Wildcats are 12-0 at the Pavilion this year. They improve to 25-3 and pick up their ninth straight win. They take on the Marquette Golden Eagles on Sunday, March 2 at the Wells Fargo Center. Tip-off is at 2 p.m.
Thank you seniors.
Here’s a fan shot submitted by Rosie Makoski ’16 of the seniors getting one last curtain call: