On a chilly Sunday afternoon in Omaha, the Villanova Wildcats picked up a road victory over the Creighton Blue Jays, 90-78, maintaining sole possession of first place in the Big East Conference.
For the second consecutive game, a lights out second half performance by Phil Booth carried Villanova to victory. Booth, who totaled 28 points on the day, scored 19 in the second half, connecting on all four of his three-point attempts after the intermission. Booth also dished out a team high seven assists and grabbed four rebounds in the contest. Fellow senior Eric Paschall supplemented Booth’s performance with 21 points and 7 rebounds of his own.
To begin the game, the Wildcats first two possessions saw Paschall and Saddiq Bey hit back to back three-pointers to give the ‘Cats the early lead, 6-2. However, in front of their home crowd, the Blue Jays fought back and would lead for the majority of the opening 20 minutes. Junior Martin Krampelj (10 pts, 6 reb), and sophomore Ty-Shon Alexander (17 pts) both had monster performances in the first half, allowing Creighton to head to the locker room with a, 42-38, lead.
Greg McDermott’s leaders would not be able to maintain their hot shooting, however. After the halftime break, Krampelj and Alexander would score just four and five points respectively, with Alexander going just 1-6 from three-point range.
Meanwhile, while Phil Booth knocked down triples, mid-range jumpers and got to the foul line, the Wildcats also picked up some highlight-reel dunks. First, Jermaine Samuels slammed one home in transition over the 6’9” Krampelj, before Eric Paschall threw down a ferocious alley-oop off of a feed from Collin Gillespie.
Courtesy of their 52-point offensive outburst in the second half, Villanova notched its fifth straight win, bringing its conference record to 4-0. Next up for the ‘Cats is a date with Xavier on Friday, Jan. 18. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.