One season after reaching the Final Four, Villanova has struggled mightily through 23 games under first-year head coach Kyle Neptune.
The Wildcats (10-13, 4-8 Big East) will look to snap a three-game losing streak when they host DePaul on Wednesday.
Villanova will retire former guard Jalen Brunson’s No. 1 jersey and will also recognize Hall of Fame head coach Jay Wright, who won 520 games and two national championships in 21 seasons at the school.
With a younger team that has been besieged with injuries, the Wildcats have not been able to close out games this season. Most recently, they fell 66-61 at Creighton on Saturday.
Eric Dixon led the way with 20 points, Justin Moore added 13 and Caleb Daniels had 12.
“It was a tough loss for us on the road against a really good team,” Neptune said. “I give them a lot of credit. I thought we were really resilient, took some good shots, but they made the plays at the end.”
Villanova leads the series 32-9 against DePaul but lost 75-65 on Jan. 10 in Chicago. That snapped the Wildcats’ 22-game winning streak against the Blue Demons.
Since upsetting then-No. 8 Xavier 73-72 on Jan. 18, DePaul (9-15, 3-10) has dropped five in a row.
On Sunday, the Blue Demons were defeated by Seton Hall, 69-64.
Umoja Gibson shot 9-of-18 and scored 21 points, Da’Sean Nelson contributed 13 and K.T. Raimey had 10.
DePaul closed within five points late in the game, but the result was another frustrating loss in a season filled with more maddening defeats than promising victories.
“We’ve just got to get better, but we’ve got to realize what we need to get better at,” DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield said. “We’ve got to take a long look in the mirror and say, ‘OK, these are the things we’re doing well and these are the things we need to improve on.’ The things we have to improve on are on the defensive side of the basketball and rebounding the basketball.
“It’s not a points thing, it’s the ability to get stops.”
Javan Johnson missed nine shots while being held scoreless against Seton Hall, snapping a 29-game streak of scoring of least one point.
–Field Level Media