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Villanova Wins Fourth Big East Tournament Title After Defeating Xavier

The 2015 Big East All-Tournament team was also announced after the game.



Two double digit losses to Villanova already this season had many believing that Xavier would just be the sacrificial lamb to the Wildcats in the 2015 Big East Championship Game. After two close wins in their first two rounds, the Musketeers had other plans against one of the likely number one seeds in the NCAA Tournament in Villanova. The stage was set for what many believed to be a foregone conclusion and a Villanova win.

Those people were right as in the end Xavier could not match Villanova as the Wildcats won the Big East Championship after a 69-52 victory on Saturday night. This was Villanova’s fourth Big East Tournament title and their first since 1995. Josh Hart won the Dave Gavitt Trophy for the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds.

In the early stages, Villanova and Xavier worked the ball around the court which created great looks for both teams. The Wildcats took an early 17-12 lead in the first half behind six points from senior forward JayVaughn Pinkston. The key to the lead was Villanova finding a way to create offense around the 1-3-1 zone that Xavier was playing for much of the first half. Georgetown found the zone difficult for most of the semifinal match-up on Friday night and many knew that Villanova coach Jay Wright was watching and thinking of how to combat it.

For this game, Villanova found the kryptonite to the 1-3-1 which was great shooting. The Wildcats shot 52 percent from the floor in the first half and jumped out to a 34-21 halftime lead. For their part, Xavier shot only 10-of-30 from the field as Villanova’s swarming defense forced the Musketeers into settling for less than ideal shot attempts. Due to just settling for jump shots, Xavier did not attack and draw fouls as evidence by just two free throw attempts in the half (they missed both of the attempts).

Xavier did a better job of shot selection in the second half but Villanova also continued their hot shooting. Hart was lights out once again in the second for ‘Nova as the Wildcat grew to 20 points with 7:38 remaining in the game. Matt Stainbrook, who came into the championship game averaging 16 points and nine rebounds in the Big East Tournament, was held to just four points on 2-of-8 shooting and three rebounds.

“Well, we weren’t very good tonight,” said Xavier coach Chris Mack after the game. “Villanova had a heck of a lot to do with it. I know the guys next to me and some of the guys in the locker room are tired of hearing it, but that’s where the bar is in this league. They (Villanova) set the standard.”

Xavier was led by Dee Davis and Jalen Reynolds who both finished with 13 points. For the game, the Musketeers finished shooting 2-of-15 from three point range and just 37 percent from the field.

The 2015 Big East All-Tournament team was also announced after the game. It is as follows:

Darun Hilliard (Villanova)

Dylan Ennis (Villanova)

Jalen Reynolds (Xavier)

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown)

Kris Dunn (Providence)

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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