Villanova defeated No. 5/5 Louisville by a final score of 73-64 to post its first victory over a ranked opponent in nearly two years. The last win over a nationally-ranked opponent for the Wildcats was a 66-50 victory over No. 25 West Virginia on February 5, 2011 in a game that was also played at the Wells Fargo Center.
The last time Villanova defeated an opponent ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation was exactly two years ago to the day. Villanova defeated No. 3 Syracuse by a final score of 83-72 at the Carrier Dome on January 22, 2011.
Villanova has an all-time record of 3-1 against teams ranked in the top five in the nation at the Wells Fargo Center. In all the Wildcats are now 13-19 (.406) all-time versus ranked opponents in the building.
Villanova played the 100th game in school history versus an opponent ranked in the top five. In those games the Wildcats are 34-66 (.340), including the mark of 3-1 at the Wells Fargo Center.
Head coach Jay Wright has a record of 9-11 (.450) in his Villanova career against teams ranked in the top five. He has posted one win against a No. 1 team, one win against a No. 2 team, three wins against No. 3, one win against No. 4 and three wins against No. 5.
Tonight's game marked the 22nd time that an unranked Villanova team defeated a team ranked in the top five in the nation. As an unranked opponent Villanova is 22-39 (.361) versus teams ranked in the nation's top five.
Villanova is 4-1 all-time against Louisville at the Wells Fargo Center, with the Cardinals being ranked in the nation's top 25 for three of those four victories.
Villanova is 34-32 (.515) all-time at the Wells Fargo Center, including a record of 22-28 (.440) versus BIG EAST opponents. Tonight's win snapped a six-game losing streak versus conference opponents in the building.
Of the 66 games that Villanova has played at the Wells Fargo Center, 37 (56%) have been decided by single digits. The Wildcats are 16-21 (.432) in these games.
Villanova had a season-high five different players score in double figure, led by a team-high 15 points from freshman point guard Ryan Arcidiacono. Previously this season the Wildcats had four players score in double figures in wins over Penn, Delaware and NJIT.
The game turned in the second half after a basket by Louisville gave the Cardinals a 52-46 lead with 8:25 remaining, matching their largest lead of the game. Just over a minute later Villanova launched a 13-1 run which resulted in the Wildcats holding a 59-53 lead with 3:01 to play.
The 13-1 run for Villanova began with sophomore guard Darrun Hilliard converting a three-point play with 7:08 left and culminated with junior guard James Bell hitting a three-pointer with 3:01 remaining.
After Louisville stemmed the 13-1 run with a layup at the 2:47 mark to get within 59-55, senior center Mouphtaou Yarou made the second of two free throws with 2:08 to play to make the score 60-55. Villanova maintained at least a five-point advantage the rest of the way and pushed its lead to as many as 12 points in the closing seconds.
During the 13-1 run in which Villanova rallied and took control of the game, Louisville was ineffective shooting the ball both from the floor and at the foul line. The Cardinals went 0-for-5 from the field and 1-for-8 at the free throw line while also committing two turnovers during the Wildcats 13-1 run.
In the last 2:08 of the game Villanova was 14-of-16 (.875) at the free throw line. During a stretch that lasted from the time there were 49 seconds to play until there were 13 seconds remaining the Wildcats hit 10 consecutive free throw attempts to prevent Louisville from being able to make a late comeback.
As a team Villanova is shooting .780 from the free throw line (85-of-109) this season in the final two minutes of regulation plus overtime.
Villanova will not have to wait long to face another highly-ranked opponent. This coming Saturday at 11 a.m. the Wildcats host No. 3/4 Syracuse at the Wells Fargo Center. This will mark the first time in the regular season since 1988 that Villanova is playing back-to-back games against opponents ranked among the nation's top five. It is the first time ever that the Wildcats are hosting consecutive games versus top five opponents.