Moore scores 25, helps Villanova upset No. 16 Xavier 64-63


CINCINNATI (AP) — Justin Moore scored 25 points to give Villanova a 64-63 win over No. 16 on Tuesday night for its biggest victory under first-year head coach Kyle Neptune.

Cam Whitmore added 11 points for the Wildcats (14-14, 8-9 Big East) who dealt a big blow to the Musketeers’ Big East title hopes.

Souley Boum led the Musketeers (20-8, 12-5 Big East) with 17 points.

Two free throws by Boum got the Musketeers within one point with 36 seconds left. Eric Dixon was called for traveling, giving Xavier possession with 11 seconds left, but the Musketeers committed their 14th turnover.

The Musketeers beat Villanova 88-80 on Jan. 7. It was their first true road win in the series since the 1955-56 season, but they fell short of a series sweep at home.

Xavier played its sixth game without second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Zach Freemantle, who scored 29 points in an 88-80 win at Villanova on Jan. 7. Freemantle has a foot injury and is expected to return by the postseason. The Musketeers are 4-3 without him.

Villanova is 12-3 this season when allowing fewer than 70 points, but 1-11 when allowing 70 or more.

The game was played at Xavier’s preferred pace early on.

Desmond Claude who returned after missing two games due to illness, hit a 3-pointer to spark a 6-0 run to put the Musketeers ahead 20-12.

Moore who returned in January after missing 10 months with a torn Achilles, hit a 3-pointer to spark a 10-0 run to get the Wildcats back in the game.

Boum beat the halftime buzzer with a 3-pointer from near midcourt to give the Musketeers a 36-30 lead. Xavier led by as many as 13 points in the half.

Dixon’s layup gave Villanova a 52-50 lead with 8:30 remaining. It was the Wildcats’ first lead since the 18:50 mark of the first half.

Kunkel appeared to have tied the score with a layup and was fouled with 2:35 left, but the official called traveling. Moore followed with a 3-pointer to put Villanova up by five.


Villanova: The Wildcats finally are getting healthy. After the Wildcats’ top six scorers missed a combined 36 games to injury, the Feb. 11 win over Seton Hall was the first time all were available. Nova’s top six scorers missed a combined five games all last season.

Xavier: This season seemed to be the best opportunity for the Musketeers to get over the hump against Villanova. Coming into this season, the Musketeers had defeated Villanova only twice since joining the Big East for the 2013-14 season.


Villanova: Hosts No. 19 Creighton on Saturday.

Xavier: At Seton Hall on Friday.