Jan. 25, 2014
MILWAUKEE, Wisc. - The Villanova Wildcats overcame a late rally in regulation by Marquette to post a 94-85 overtime victory over the Golden Eagles on Saturday afternoon at the BMO Harris Bradley Center here. VU improves to 17-2 overall, 6-1 BIG EAST while MU falls to 11-9 overall, 3-4 in conference play.
"We were not good defensively," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "Marquette is very talented and (coach) Buzz (Williams) runs a lot of good stuff. I think it's a credit to them. We just outscored them at the end."
"Missing free throws at the end hurt. But I was very proud of our resiliency to overcome them."
Senior James Bell established a new career high with 30 points on the day (his previous high had been 25 earlier this season in a win at Saint Joseph's). Junior Darrun Hilliard and sophomore Ryan Arcidiacono added 20 points apiece and Arcidiacono bolstered his stat line with a career high 11 assists and zero turnovers.
Arcidiacono was especially effective in overtime, when the Wildcats outscored the Golden Eagles 17-8.
"To have a point guard like that, who wants the ball in his hands, makes the right decisions, is big," stated Wright. "Ryan missed a couple of foul shots at the end of regulation. There was no doubt of anybody on our team that he would make the next ones. He doesn't let it affect him. He's a special player."
Davante Gardner paced the Golden Eagles with 29 points.
"That was a great college basketball game," stated Wright.
Bell opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and it was an appropriate advertisement for the first 20 minutes of action. The Wildcats' work from beyond the arc helped them craft a 38-31 lead at intermission as Bell completed the first 20 minutes with 15 points and Hilliard added nine points.
The difference in the first half was evident in the work from beyond the 3-point arc, where VU was 7-of-17 from distance. In contrast, the Golden Eagles were a mere 1-of-5 from deep.
Marquette, however, consistently was productive in the paint at the offensive end of the court and the riddle was one the Wildcats grappled to solve all afternoon. Through the first eight minutes of the second period the Golden Eagles owned a 34-10 advantage in points in the paint. They would end the day with a 54-30 edge in that category.
Largely riding the efforts of the frontcourt trio of Gardner, Chris Otule and Jamil Wilson, the Golden Eagles shaved the gap to 47-46 with 14:04 left in the second period on a Todd Mayo basket. Villanova produced a strong response, though. JayVaughn Pinkston, Bell and Hilliard each scored a bucket to rebuild the Wildcats' lead to 58-49.
The advantage grew to 68-57 with 4:53 to play and was 71-62 at the 2:33 mark. But steady scoring by the Golden Eagles, who got a lift from Mayo, and some missed free throws by the `Cats closed the gap to 75-71 before a rainbow three from the right corner from Mayo cut the deficit to 75-74 with 13 seconds left in regulation.
Arcidiacono was fouled on the next possession and dropped in both free throws to push the margin back up to 77-74. Mayo missed a three on the next possession with 4.8 seconds to play but was fouled by Arcidiacono. Mayo calmly dropped in all three free throws to knot the contest setting up a final possession for the `Cats.
Senior Tony Chennault drove the basketball down the floor and converted a runner just before the horn sounded. But officials whistled Chennault for a charging foul and the game headed to overtime.
Villanova controlled the tip and most of the extra session, outscoring the Golden Eagles 17-8 in the period. The Wildcats scored the first five points of extra time and led the resy of the way.
Marquette ended the day connecting on .500 of its field goal attempts. Villanova overcame that by sinking eight more 3-pointers on the day and converting .484 of its own attempts from the field. VU also outrebounded the Golden Eagles 37-35.
Next up for Villanova is a Monday night contest at Georgetown at the Verizon Center (9:00 p.m./Fox Sports 1 and CBS Sports Radio 610).
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