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Villanova vs. Michigan: Wolverines Pummel Wildcats 73-46

In a rematch of the 2018 National Championship game and their first real test of the 2018-19 season, the Villanova Wildcats fell to the Michigan Wolverines, 73-46.

The loss was the Wildcats largest since 2014, when Ethan Wragge went bonkers and Villanova lost 96-68. It was also the first time Villanova was held to under 50 points since Pittsburgh did it in 2013.

“It’s my fault. We just got too many pieces. We’re just running guys in and out, we’re not as organized as we want to be. We’re just trying to find a lineup here early in the season,” said Wright.

The Wildcats played 10 guys, with Brandon Slater ending up on the low end with 5 minutes, and Gillespie leading the team with 34 minutes.

Jay Wright made a change to his starting lineup, as Jermaine Samuels was back starting after Joe Cremo made the start against Quinnipac.

Michigan got off to a hot start and took an early 22-8 lead in the first 10 minutes, led by 8 points from senior guard Charles Matthews.

By the under-8 timeout, Michigan was shooting 12-25 (60%) from the field, while the Wildcats were shooting just 3-15 (20%).

The Wolverines took a 44-17 lead into halftime, led by 16 points from Matthews on 7-9 shooting. As a team, Michigan shot 18-32 (56.3%) from the field and 4-12 (33.3%) from three. Phil Booth was the Wildcats leading scorer with 6 points, and Villanova shot 6-25 (24%) from the field and 2-10 (20%) from three point range as a team.

Not much changed in the second half, as the Wildcats continued to struggle to score and get stops. They turned the ball over at a very high rate, disrupting whatever little flow they could muster. Villanova also moved to their 34 court press in the second half, which ultimately was not very successful. It forced Michigan to take more time to get into their offense, but Villanova was unable to keep anyone in front of them once they did.

Matthews was the leading scorer for the Wolverines, finishing with 19 points to go along with 4 rebounds and 3 blocks. Freshmen Ignas Brazdeikis had 18 points of his own on 7-11 shooting and also contributed 7 rebounds.

As a team, Michigan shot 50.9% from the field, but just 29.4% from three. The Wildcats shot 14-44 (31.8%) from the field, and just 3-15 (20%) from three.

Eric Paschall was the leading scorer for Villanova, with 10 points on 3-14 shooting. No one else reached double digit for the Wildcats, Phil Booth was the second leading scorer with 9 points on 2-8 shooting.

“We weren’t experienced enough to make the adjustments that we had to make. We were doing some decent things early and then when they started driving the ball we had to make some adjustments. That’s on me, probably tried to put a little bit too much in with all these new guys,” said Wright.

The Wildcats had 21 turnovers compared to just 14 made field goals, led by 5 Collin Gillespie’s 5.

What was Wright’s thoughts behind the reasons for all the turnovers? “Well, number one, their defense. Their defense was very physical, very aggressive, and really locked in to their scouting report.”

Villanova returns to action on Saturday in the Pavillion at 5PM against Furman.

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