Lynchburg, Va: The best time for College basketball has arrived & it is called March Madness. It was a very challenging season for the Villanova Wildcats, who went 17-16 & 10-10 in the Big East under first-year head coach Kyle Neptune as they got invited to the NIT. This is the 1st time that the Villanova Wildcats will be taking part in the NIT since 2004.
Villanova would go on the road for a battle with Liberty, who is 26-8 in the 1st round of the NIT.
Kyle Neptune said that their two star players in Justin Moore & Cam Whitmore would be game-time decisions & they did not play in the game.
How the game went:
Liberty got the game started with a 3-pointer for a 3-0 lead. Jordan Longino got the Wildcats on the board and cut the lead to 3-2. The Wildcats would take their first lead of the game by way of a 3 from Eric Dixon for a 5-3 lead.
Liberty would jump out to a 12-9 lead and then the Wildcats would answer the run from Liberty, tying things at 17 with 7:44 left in the 1st half.
Later on, in the 1st half, both teams would continue to play good defense. Two times in the half the Wildcats would have scoring droughts of 4 minutes and Liberty would make them pay with a 9-0 run for a 32-25 lead at halftime
In the 2nd halff, the Wildcats would keep this game close but the story of the game was the 3-point shooting. They were not dropping for Villanova and Liberty made them pay multiple times, led by Darius McGhee who made 5-13 from 3 PT range.
There were multiple times in the second half that the Wildcats cut the Flame’s lead with the lowest being 3 with 2:53 left. Late in the game, when Villanova needed a 3 to drop, it would not go down and so would their season as Liberty would knock out the Wildcats 62-57.
The Wildcats would finish 4-26 from 3 PT range – 15% – and when those shots are not falling, you normally don’t win those types of games.
Villanova Coach Kyle Neptune on the season:
#Villanova Coach Kyle Neptune about tonight's loss to #Liberty & on the season"I think our young guys got a lot of good experience & those guys will take that experience we're going to next year & we'll get better"#NovaNation #NIT pic.twitter.com/CmeFr2MhrN— David Malandra Jr (@DaveMReports) March 15, 2023
#Villanova Coach Kyle Neptune about tonight's loss to #Liberty & on the season"I think our young guys got a lot of good experience & those guys will take that experience we're going to next year & we'll get better"#NovaNation #NIT pic.twitter.com/CmeFr2MhrN
What is next:
The Wildcats would end their season at 17-17 & this was a very challenging year for first-year coach Kyle Neptune. This would turn out to be the final games for Villanova’s Brandon Slater and Caleb Daniels. We are not sure about the decisions of Justin Moore & Cam Whitmore.