In what was a high-powered offensive game of basketball, Villanova couldn’t keep up with Baylor’s hot hand as the Wildcats lost, 87-78, in an important top-25 game between two teams likely to find themselves in the NCAA Tournament come March. Collin Gillespie led the ‘Cats with 27 points, two rebounds and six assists. Sophomore Saddiq Bey finished with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Freshman forward, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Cole Swider also added 11 points and 5 rebounds.
The first half was filled with many lead changes and plenty of offense from both sides with Gillespie scoring 16 in the first half alone. Baylor, however, matched the ‘Cats shot for shot. Villanova took the lead going into halftime after a wild last five seconds that included two Baylor fouls and three free throws from Saddiq Bey.
The second half started with the same story of fluctuating leads, before the Bears stopped missing all together and took the lead for good. Both teams shot 52% from the floor, meaning it came down to the three-point shot, where Baylor made all of its shots in the final six and a half minutes of game time.
While the defense struggled throughout the game, Brandon Slater was a bright spot with three blocks and great defense early in this game. Slater also finished with seven points and a rebound. Jermaine Samuels finished with five points, two rebounds and an assist.
The loss drops Villanova to 4-2 with the two losses both coming to top 25 opponents. The team dropped to No. 22 in the AP poll this week. This is also Villanova’s first loss in an in-season tournament in seven years. The Wildcats now come back home to face La Salle and Penn in the Finneran Pavilion after Thanksgiving break.