Bulldogs show some bite in 73-61 win over No. 8 Villanova

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Butler guard Jair Bolden (52) celebrates after a three-point basket with forward Bryce Golden (33) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova in Indianapolis, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Harris jump-started Butler's offense early. Jair Bolden delivered the finishing touch.

Together, the Bulldogs' backcourt was unbeatable.

Harris scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half on Sunday and Bolden finished with 12 of his 15 in the second half to help Butler pull away for a 73-61 win over No. 8 Villanova.

“Their guards just dominated the game,” Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. “Specifically Bolden and Harris, we just couldn't control them.”

Harris and Bolden combined for four of Butler's 10 3-pointers, including two in the waning moments to seal the victory.

It was a rough day for the Wildcats (15-4, 10-3 Big East), who entered the game as a 10 1/2-point favorite but made just 2 of 27 3s. Villanova became the sixth top-15 team to stumble this weekend, following losses on Saturday by No. 2 Baylor, No. 7 Oklahoma, No. 11 Florida State, No. 13 Creighton and No. 14 Texas.

It wasn't terribly close, either.

Butler (9-13, 8-11) swung the game with a suffocating defense that limited the Wildcats to one basket during the final seven minutes of the first half and an offensive charge fueled by Harris. That combination resulted in a 16-3 run that gave the Bulldogs a 31-20 lead. They never trailed again, winning their second straight while beating Villanova for the fourth time in the last five meetings at Hinkle Fieldhouse.