Villanova Wildcats

Phil Booth ignites second-half surge as Villanova beats Creighton

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Phil Booth ignites second-half surge as Villanova beats Creighton

OMAHA, Neb. — Villanova called on Phil Booth again. As usual, he delivered.

Booth scored 19 of his 28 points after halftime to ignite the Wildcats' surge as they came from behind to beat Creighton 90-78 on Sunday.

"He's got an incredible humility about him where when you need him, he's there," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "If you don't need him, he's doing all the little things and he's not complaining. It's what makes him a great leader and great player."

Booth made all four of his 3-pointers in the second half and scored eight straight points early in a 26-6 spurt that turned Villanova's 47-38 deficit into a 64-53 lead with 9 minutes left. The Bluejays had two scoring droughts of more than 4 minutes as Villanova (13-4, 4-0 Big East) pulled away.

The defending champion Wildcats came back from sizeable deficits for the third time in four games. They trailed by 13 before beating No. 24 St. John's on Tuesday and by 14 in a win over DePaul on Jan. 2. Booth hit the go-ahead 3-pointer late and scored 23 points against St. John's.

The fifth-year senior said his work is a reflection of the team.

"It's how resilient we are, how mentally tough we are from being down a lot throughout the season," Booth said. "It's learning how to stay calm and doing what we do to fight back and stay aggressive no matter what happens."

For the Bluejays (10-7, 1-3), the loss came after they twice led by nine and followed their crushing overtime home loss to No. 21 Marquette on Wednesday. In that game, they gave up a Big East-record 53 points to Markus Howard and blew a three-point lead with less than a second left in regulation.

"To beat Villanova, it takes tremendous discipline on both ends of the floor," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "I've said on numerous occasions, they just don't beat themselves and they have two of the better players in the league in Booth and Paschall, and they certainly showed that today why they are in that position."

Eric Paschall, also a fifth-year senior, had 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Collin Gillespie made four 3s while scoring 14.

Ty-Shawn Alexander made five 3-pointers and scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half as Creighton got out to a nine-point lead. Villanova clamped down on Alexander in the second half, limiting him to two field goals.

The Bluejays were up nine again early in the second, at 47-38, before Villanova stormed back.

Booth led the Wildcats to their first lead since the opening four minutes after Paschall converted a nice pass in the lane from Gillespie. Booth made three free throws after getting fouled shooting a 3-pointer and then a jumper and 3-pointer to put Villanova up 48-47 with 16:36 left.

The Bluejays got it back to 51-all, but Booth made two straight 3s to open another 13-0 spurt that broke it open again.

Big picture 
Villanova: The Wildcats have won five straight and are the only unbeaten team in Big East play. They played their best half of the season on defense in the second half, limiting up-tempo Creighton to 40-percent shooting and 36 points.

Creighton: The Bluejays, who played without injured starter Damien Jefferson (calf, ankle) have lost three straight Big East games and now have to go on the road for back-to-back games.

"We had a really short bench today," McDermott said, "and there were some matchups that were just awful for us given the guys we have available to us. But I thought they fought and competed. Today we got beat by a better team."

Help on the way
Wright is excited about the development of some of his younger players like Jermaine Samuels (13 points, six rebounds, two blocks), Saddiq Bey (seven points, six rebounds) and Jahvon Quinerly (seven points, three rebounds).

"We could be sitting here 7-10 and waiting for those guys, but Phil and E have carried us," Wright said. "Now Jermaine is starting to prove (himself), Quinerly gave us great minutes, Saddiq is starting to get better. It's what we need if we're going to be a good team. Phil and E can't carry us the whole season. They'll get worn down. But the younger guys are starting to come and that's what we're going to have to have to get road wins and beat teams like Creighton."

Up next 
Villanova hosts Xavier on Friday.

Creighton visits St. John's on Wednesday.

No. 10 Villanova falls flat in blowout loss to No. 18 Ohio State

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USA Today Images/Joe Maiorana

No. 10 Villanova falls flat in blowout loss to No. 18 Ohio State

BOX SCORE 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Not even Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann saw this coming.

His 18th-ranked Buckeyes looked NCAA Tournament-ready in their third game, racing out to a big lead, playing solid defense and smothering No. 10 Villanova 76-51 on Wednesday night for a significant early-season victory.

"Probably two or three times have I ever been part of a game as a head coach where almost everything kind of goes your way," Holtmann said. "And that's reality. Very rarely do you have games like that."

Ohio State (3-0) came out firing, with Duane Washington Jr. opening the game with a pair of 3s and CJ Walker adding another for a quick 9-0 lead. The Buckeyes bolted to a 19-3 lead, led by as many as 27 and held a 40-22 advantage at the intermission of this Gavitt Tipoff Game, a November series that matches up the Big Ten and the Big East.

"We knew we had to have a big start because we've been starting games off slow," said freshman guard D.J. Carton, who finished with 11 points and was one of five Ohio State players to reach double figures.

Villanova didn't show signs of life until a 9-0 run late in the first half. But Kyle Young started the second half with a dunk and the Buckeyes never backed off the gas, leading by as many as 30.

"Our players' preparation and their play was the reason for tonight's win," Holtmann said. "I thought across the board they were really ready for this game."

Washington led the Buckeyes with 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Luther Muhammad had 11 points and Kaleb Wesson added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Cold Wildcats 

Villanova never could find its shot.

The Wildcats hit 30.6 percent from the floor, including 10 of 30 from 3-point range. They were held to a dozen points in the first 16 minutes, and the Buckeyes consistently controlled play in the paint.

Jermaine Samuels had 14 points and Cole Swider had 11 for the Wildcats (1-1).

"We have a lot to learn," said coach Jay Wright, whose teams have won two national championships in the past five seasons.

"These guys have to learn to play together," he said. "They have to learn to trust each other."

Big picture 

Villanova: Starting a pair of freshmen, Villanova could never catch up with the hustling Buckeyes. The crowd in Columbus chanted "overrated," which could be the case.

"There's things we should have been prepared for," Wright said. "(Ohio State) was prepared. We as a staff have to go back and look at what are we doing. Do we have too much stuff in, where basic concepts are not really dialed in on?"

Ohio State: Most everything was clicking in the Buckeyes' third game of the season. If they can sustain it, they should be able to play with nearly any team in the country.

"Tonight was one of those nights where it was just flowing," said Walker, who had 10 points.

Poll implications 

Ohio State should take a big leap, while Villanova can expect to drop out of the top 10.

Tip-ins

The 25-point margin of victory over an AP Top 10 team was the largest for the Buckeyes since March 6, 2011, when they beat Wisconsin 93-65. ... Wesson had his second double-double in three games. ... The Buckeyes are 3-0 in Gavitt Tipoff games. The Wildcats fell to 2-2 in the event.

Up next 

Villanova: Hosts Ohio on Saturday.

Ohio State: Hosts Stetson on Monday.

Edwards leads Purdue to rout of reigning champ Villanova

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USA Today Images

Edwards leads Purdue to rout of reigning champ Villanova

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Carsen Edwards had a career night, scoring 42 points as Purdue knocked reigning national champion Villanova out of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night in an 87-61 rout.

Matt Haarms added 18 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Boilermakers (25-9), who advanced to their third straight Sweet 16.

Eric Paschall had 19 for Villanova (26-10), which saw its quest for a third national title in the last four seasons end during the tournament's first weekend. Fellow senior Phil Booth scored 15 points, putting him over 1,500 for his career.

Edwards has battled a sore back and had been in a recent shooting slump, making just 7 of 23 shots from the field in Purdue's first-round win over Old Dominion. He found the bottom of the net early and often against `Nova, making 12 of his 21 shots, including nine of 16 from behind the arc.

Purdue shot 54 percent while holding Villanova to just 20 baskets on 58 shots (34 percent).

Purdue jumped out early, building a 13-point lead thanks to Edwards' outside shooting and Haarms' work down low.

The 7-foot-3 Dutchman towered over the shorter Wildcats, who didn't start anyone over 6-8. He had Purdue's first four points on a dunk and a put-back. Edwards hit five of his nine first-half shots, all of which came from three-point range.

Purdue had nine three-point baskets in the first half and a dunk by Haarms put the Boilermakers up 43-24 at intermission.

Another dunk from the Dutchman extended the lead to 35 in the second half. Villanova chipped away but the sixth seeded Big East champions did not have weapons to make it a game.