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Unranked Butler upsets No. 8 Villanova in Big East regular season rematch

Butler, Villanova, Big East

The Butler Bulldogs didn’t wait until March to score a massive upset, beating the eighth-ranked Villanova Wildcats, 73-61, on Sunday in a regular-season rematch between two Big East teams.

Chuck Harris led a balanced effort by the Bulldogs with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting while adding five rebounds, and three assists. Jair Bolden, meanwhile, finished with 15 points for Butler, which also got 13 points from Bryce Golden and 12 points and 10 rebounds from Bryce Nze.

The Bulldogs were ahead for most of the game, taking control toward the end of the first half and leading by 10 at the break 34-24, and stretching their lead to as much as 15 points. When the Wildcats threatened to close the gap late in the second half, it was Harris and Bolden that punctuated their upset victory, drilling back-to-back three-pointers to give them a 68-54 lead with under three minutes remaining, after which they made their free throws to seal the massive win.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl led Villanova with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Colin Gillespie finished with 14 points, five boards, and two assists. Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels finished with 10 points apiece for the Wildcats, but the team could not overcome the Bulldogs’ defense, which held them to 24-of-65 from the field (36.9%) and just 2-of-27 (7.4%) from beyond the arc.

Butler’s huge win at Hankie Fieldhouse was a stark contrast to the teams’ previous meeting back in December, which the Wildcats dominated, 85-66.

With the victory, the Bulldogs moved up to 9-13 for the season, including an 8-11 record in Big East play. Jay Wright’s Villanova, meanwhile, fell to its fourth defeat against 15 wins, including a 10-3 record versus the Big East.