No. 14 Villanova looks to extend dominance over DePaul

NCAA Men's Basketball
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Villanova will be looking for its third consecutive victory when it hosts DePaul on Tuesday on the Main Line.

The No. 14-ranked Wildcats (12-3, 3-1 Big East) followed a gritty 64-59 win at Creighton last Tuesday with a resounding 80-66 victory over Georgetown on Saturday.

Saddiq Bey was the biggest reason why the Wildcats are suddenly surging as he poured in career highs of eight made 3-pointers and 33 points against the Hoyas. The eight treys tied a program record.

“Saddiq is a good shooter,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright told reporters after Bey went 10 of 15 from the field. “He was going through one of those periods where he had to sleep in the streets. You can’t be afraid of it. You have to be willing to keep shooting. I think that’s what happened today.”

The young Villanova team, which doesn’t feature one scholarship senior, keeps finding different ways to win. At Creighton, the Wildcats played tenacious defense.

Against Georgetown, Villanova found its shooting stroke, going 15 for 29 from beyond the 3-point arc.

“We’re getting better,” Wright said. “We have a lot of work to do. That’s a good Georgetown team that is coming off a big win over St. John’s. We struggled defensively in the first half. We were pretty good offensively, but we struggled with their ball screens. They were getting downhill, getting to the offensive glass. We didn’t change anything in the second half. We just did what we were trying to do in the first half.”

Villanova has swept the season series against DePaul in each of the past six seasons. Villanova has also won 18 in a row over the Blue Demons.

DePaul’s last win in this series came in January 2008.

After a promising 12-1 start overall, DePaul has lost its first three Big East games: at home against Seton Hall and Providence, and at St. John’s.

Despite the seven-point setback Saturday at St. John’s, there were some positives for the Blue Demons, highlighted by Charlie Moore’s 14 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. Moore neared the first triple-double in program history.

Jaylen Butz added 17 points and nine rebounds for DePaul. It was Butz’s eighth game scoring in double figures this season and the 21st of his career.

In the three Big East losses, DePaul has played well for large stretches. In this difficult league, there isn’t much separation between winning and losing.

“This league is going to be about survival — each game,” DePaul head coach Dave Leitao told the Chicago Tribune. “From an overall standpoint, you have to get there whether you lose the first two, the last two, two in the middle, three in a row. You have to pick yourself up and understand why.”

When DePaul surged to 12 wins in its first 13 games, balance was key. The Blue Demons received scoring, rebounding and crisp passing up and down the roster.

But in the last three losses, consistency has been tough to find.

“We need to find a way to get everyone playing at their best,” Leitao said.

–Field Level Media

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