It wasn’t pretty, but Villanova took care of business Wednesday night and beat Boston College by a final score of 76-67. In addition to running the @OTHVillanova page on Twitter, I will be giving out player grades for each Villanova game this season. Without further ado, let’s get into each player’s performance from this game.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: A-
With Saddiq Bey gone, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl will have to step up and be the best player on the team. Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree missed this game as he continues to rehab his knee. This put Villanova in a tough position in the first half, when JRE picked up two quick fouls. Eric Dixon struggled, and lineups with Jermaine Samuels at the center were ineffective. However, Robinson-Earl took over in the second half and finished this game with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
When on the court, JRE looked like a completely different player from last season. He was significantly more dominating in the post and fought for every rebound. Defensively, he appeared much improved as well as he helped to limit Steffon Mitchell to three points. His offensive rebound and feed to Brandon Slater clinched the game with a minute and change to play. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was clearly the MVP of this game but didn’t earn an A because he put the Wildcats in a tough spot in the first half by picking up two fouls.
Collin Gillespie: B-
Now in his senior season, all eyes are on Collin Gillespie to be the Wildcats’ team leader. Gillespie struggled on paper as he shot 5-16 from the field and 1-6 from deep. However, his lone three was a rally killer for BC when they had all of the momentum. When things started to go wrong for ‘Nova, Gillespie was able to step up as that leader, hitting big shots. He added six assists to go along with his 14 points. This was far from his best game, but Collin Gillespie did just enough to help his team win.
Jermaine Samuels: C
Also in his senior year, Jermaine Samuels was underwhelming and struggled with foul trouble in Villanova’s opening game. He still proved to be a great hustle player as he tracked down nine rebounds. However, that hurt him tonight as he picked up his third foul early in the second half, and Jay Wright had to rely on Cole Swider. Samuels did hit one big three in the second half to help shift momentum in the Wildcats’ favor. This was also far from Samuels’ best game, and hopefully, he’ll put together a better performance tonight against Arizona State.
Justin Moore: B
At one point in the first half of this game, Justin Moore was Villanova’s most reliable scorer. However, he cooled off in the second half and had to sit down after picking up his fourth foul. In total, he posted 14 points on 5-10 shooting and 2-6 from deep. Moore wasn’t the difference-maker against BC, but did his job, thus earning a B grade.
Caleb Daniels: B
A junior transfer from Tulane, Caleb Daniels showed that he’d play a key role for Villanova this season. While Daniels won’t be the best player or take them to a championship, his production will be needed to help replace Saddiq Bey. Bey was obviously their best shooter, and Daniels helps to fill that void as he hit a pair of threes in this game.
Cole Swider: A-
With Saddiq Bey gone, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on Cole Swider to step up in his junior year. Coming off the bench in this one, Swider played his part as he knocked down two big threes. Swider also showed much improvement on the boards as he grabbed five rebounds. This was an encouraging performance from a player who struggled at times last season.
Brandon Slater: B
It remains unclear how much playing time Brandon Slater will receive this season. Slater doesn’t bring much to the table besides his hustle, but Jay Wright doesn’t need him to be the hero. He had a nice deflection late in this game and hit the game-clinching layup to put the Wildcats up eight with a minute to play.
Eric Dixon: D
Eric Dixon, the redshirt freshman, had a rough performance while making his debut with the team Wednesday. Dixon was forced to play minutes in the first half with JRE in foul trouble, and he looked lost on the court, committing a bad turnover. On the bright side, it can only go up from here for him.
Villanova will take on Arizona State tonight at 9:30 PM EST in the 2K Empire Classic!
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