Player of the Week
Phil Booth, G, Senior, Villanova Wildcats
Like many figured, it was only a matter of time before the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats found their footing after a rocky start to the season. Phil Booth hasn’t been the only reason for their resurgence, but he has been a huge part. Especially as of late.
Nova is the lone undefeated team in the conference at 6-0 and back in the National rankings. For Booth, he has raised his level of play against the Big East. In those six games, Booth is averaging just over 21 ppg, his beset stretch of the season. He has scored over 20 in four of them, including 28 points and seven assists in a dominant 90-78 road win against Creighton. Booth raised to the challenge this past week with 22 points and five 3-pointers in an 85-75 home win vs Xavier and 17 at the raucous Hinkle Fieldhouse in an 80-72 victory over Butler.
Villanova is not only the top team in the conference right now, but they are the hottest. They have won seven games in a row, and already have quality wins (vs St. John’s, @ Providence, @ Butler). Booth has been instrumental this season in taking over the leadership role for the team. He is averaging career-highs in points, assists, rebounds, free throws and field goals per game. His shooting is up as well, posting his highest field goal and 3-point percentage (46% and 41%).
Kamar Baldwin, G, Junior, Butler Bulldogs
Baldwin, the leading scorer for Butler, turned in his best game of the season Saturday. The junior delivered a season-high 30 points and shot 55 percent from the field in a rousing 80-71 victory over St. John’s at home.
It has been an up and down season so far for head coach LaVall Jordan, getting demolished by Florida right before conference play and then notching a quality win vs St. John’s. This was the best game thus far for Baldwin, the undisputed go-to scorer for the Bulldogs, and one he can hopefully build upon.
TyShon Alexander, G, Sophomore, Creighton Bluejays
The Creighton Bluejays had been riding a four-game losing streak when they traveled to a much-improved Georgetown. Thanks to the heroics of Alexander, Creighton walked out with a 91-87 win. Alexander recorded his third highest scoring output of the season, going for 26 points, seven rebounds and six 3-pointers in the effort.
The 3-pointer is a asset in Alexander’s game that he has built upon well this season and has already shown the rest of college basketball. After the game, he moved into second in the conference in 3-pointers made with 64, trailing just Markus Howard with 72. For the sophomore from Charlotte, it was his fourth time knocking down at least five 3-pointers in a game and his second time hitting six. Against Clemson this season, he knocked down seven.
It was shaping up to be maybe a .500 season or around that mark coming into the season for Xavier and they have shown growing pains under first-year coach Travis Steele. The Musketeers, coming off of winning the regular season conference title last season and earning a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance, sit at just 11-9 on the season. They have lost four of their last six games and scored under their season average of 73.8 ppg in six of their last nine.
Top Individual Performances Last Week
5. Sam Hauser, Marquette (vs Providence, 1/20)
Hauser (and his brother Joey) have been great second options this season to Markus Howard, but it was the elder Hauser who took over this game. He notched 25, his second highest of the season, on 8-13 shooting, with seven rebounds and four assists.
4. Paul Reed, DePaul (@ Seton Hall, 1/19)
Reed is just 6-9, but he plays like he’s seven feet tall for this DePaul team. Against the Pirates on Saturday, he played a man’s game with a season-high 21 points and tied his season-high with 14 rebounds in DePaul’s 97-93 win.
3. Eric Paschall, Villanova (@ Butler, 1/22)
Phil Booth had a terrific game as mentioned here, but it was Pachall that loaded the scoring. He led the way with 23 points and five 3-pointers. Paschall, who came up huge for Nova in the postseason last year, was expected to lead the way with Booth this year. After an up and down start, Paschall is now finding his touch and leading with confidence.
2. Ty-Shon Alexander, Creighton (@ Georgetown, 1/21)
See above on Alexander.
1. Kamar Baldwin, (vs St. John’s, 1/19)
See above on Baldwin.