Led by freshman Sadidiq Bey, the Villanova Wildcats defeated Creighton, 66-59, in an overtime battle at the Finneran Pavilion Wednesday night.
With the victory, the 'Cats moved to 10-0 in Big East play, marking the best ever start for the program.
Both teams struggled from the floor early, as Villanova made its first three-point attempt then went to miss eight in a row over the next eight minutes. By the first TV timeout at 11:22 in the 1st, Villanova was up, 8-7, shooting just 3-14 from the field. 12 of these attempts came from three-point-land, with only two going down.
Following an ugly turnover by Phil Booth, the Bluejays seemed to take momentum from the Wildcats with a quick transition three and a couple interior shots to take a lead. The game carried on with some highlights such as an Eric Paschall slam and a Bey steal and transition dunk, but both teams continued to struggle.
The first half mercifully came to a close with the ‘Cats possessing a 25-24 lead. In the first alone, 'Nova went 9-26 from the field and 5-19 from three. Gillespie led the team with nine points in the first half, going 3-8 with all of his shot attempts from three. Bey and Paschall both also had six.
The second half began with Creighton getting two quick scores to take a 28-25 lead. However, just as before, when it looked like the Bluejays were stealing momentum, a spark play turned the tide. Bey was able to hit a three to tie it at 28-28 with 17:40 to go. Bey put up 11 points in the second half on his way to a career-high with 17 points. After the game, Bey commented that, “The energy of my teammates on every possession and every timeout. We brought attitude and played how we play.”
Villanova’s shooting woes continued even in the second, as the team put up 21 shots and made only 8 of them. However, the teams stayed close and the second half closed with a 49-49 tie, sending the game to overtime.
Overtime began with a Paschall three-pointer which set the tone for the entire period. With the game tied at 52, Collin Gillespie made a free throw and missed the second, but a huge offensive rebound and put-back dunk by Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree extended the ‘Cats’ lead to 55-52.
The Wildcats wouldn’t look back from there, as the free throw and dunk were the start of an eight point run to put the game away.
The Wildcats will next be taking on the tenth ranked Marquette Golden Eagles, who are fresh off an upset loss to St. John’s this Tuesday. Tip-off is this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Marquette’s Fiserv Forum.