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Jan 11, 2024 4:47 pm

Villanova goes for season sweep of woeful DePaul

Villanova hopes to get the best of DePaul for the second time in three weeks Friday when the teams square off in a Big East battle on the Wildcats’ campus.

The Wildcats (10-5, 3-1 Big East) trounced the Blue Demons (3-12, 0-4) in Chicago two days before Christmas, posting an 84-48 victory behind 20 points from Hakim Hart and a strong overall shooting performance. Villanova shot 53.6 percent in that game, including crisp efforts from 3-point range (12 of 22) and the foul line (12 of 13).

“We are obviously most focused on defense and rebounding,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said after that matchup. “But it never hurts when some shots go in.”

The Blue Demons, meanwhile, were woeful with their shooting in that contest. They shot just 30.4 percent overall, including 4 of 24 from long range.

DePaul recovered from the Villanova defeat to knock off Chicago State in its next affair, but the team since has lost three in a row, including a 26-point rout against No. 22 Creighton the last time out.

“(Creighton is) tough to play against, but I was disappointed tonight in our effort, our competitiveness over the course of the 40 minutes and just the fight that we brought to the table,” DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield said. “We’ve got to do a better job. I’ve got to do a better job, obviously.”

The return to competitive basketball hopefully will start against a Wildcats team that fell to St. John’s 81-71 in its most recent outing. Standout guard Justin Moore (knee) missed his fifth straight game and is listed as day-to-day at this point.

“I feel like Justin is like a vet. He’s really experienced and mature,” Villanova guard TJ Bamba said. “If anything, we’re lacking that maturity and leadership. … We definitely miss his leadership.”

The Wildcats have won 24 of the last 25 matchups between the teams, dropping only a 75-65 decision at DePaul last season.

–Field Level Media

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