Feb. 7, 2012
Villanova rallied for a 74-72 victory after trailing by as many as 19 points early in the second half. The largest deficit for the Wildcats was 60-41 after a three-pointer by Providence with 16:25 remaining. From that point on Villanova outscored the Friars by a margin of 33-12 over the final 13:39 of the contest.
The 19-point deficit that the Wildcats overcame in tonight's win is the largest since Villanova overcame a 21-point deficit in a 68-67 victory over Louisiana State on December 6, 2007. In that game, part of the BIG EAST/SEC Challenge at the Wells Fargo Center, Villanova trailed by 21 points with 8:50 remaining and by 15 points with 3:11 to play before mounting a furious late-game rally.
The last time Villanova overcame a larger deficit than 19 points in a BIG EAST game was on January 17, 2001 in an 86-74 win over Virginia Tech, also at the Pavilion. The Wildcats trailed that game by 23 points (55-32) with 17:44 to play before a 45-8 run turned the deficit into a 14-point lead (77-63) down the stretch.
In tonight's game the Wildcats erased the 60-41 deficit with a 22-3 run that spanned 8:21 and culminated with a three-pointer by Dominic Cheek with 5:18 to play which tied the game at 63-63. It was the second three-pointer in as many possessions for Cheek, who scored eight of his 17 points during the 22-3 spurt.
After the game was tied at 63-63 the Friars scored the next five points and led 68-63 with 4:21 left. They still owned a five-point advantage, 72-67 after a basket with 1:47 remaining, when JayVaughn Pinkston took over the game down the stretch.
Pinkston scored the final nine Villanova points in the last 2:13 of the contest, beginning with a three-point play with 1:30 left which made the score 72-70. A steal by Ty Johnson on the ensuing Providence possession led to a transition dunk by Pinkston with 1:14 remaining which tied the score, 72-72.
Villanova got a defensive stop and had the ball with the game tied and less than a minute to play when Pinkston drove to the hoop and laid the ball in for a 74-72 lead with 24 seconds remaining.
On the final possession of the game Providence had a potential game-tying shot in the paint blocked by Maurice Sutton with five seconds to play and after that a desperation three-point heave at the buzzer was just off the mark.
Pinkston finished the game with season highs of 28 points and 14 rebounds while shooting 10-of-18 from the field and 8-of-9 at the foul line. He started strong with 11 points in the first half and then added 13 points during the 33-12 run to end the game.
Dominic Cheek and Mouphtaou Yarou scored 17 points apiece. Together with Pinkston that trio of players scored 62 of the 74 Villanova points. The 28 points scored by Pinkston make him the third player this season (joining Cheek and Maalik Wayns) to score 25 or more points in a game.
The only two points scored in the game by Maurice Sutton were important ones. His two-hand dunk with 13:39 to play made the score 60-43 and was the beginning of the 22-3 run by the Wildcats which would eventually tie the game. He also had two blocks in 14 minutes.
During the 22-3 run that Villanova used to get back in the game and tie the score at 63-63 the Friars went more than eight minutes without a field goal. LaDontae Henton hit a three-pointer with 14:00 to play to make the score 60-41 and at that point Providence had made 8-of-11 three-pointers (72.7%). The Friars missed their last four three-pointers the rest of the way and shot 3-of-21 (14.3%) from the field overall in the final 14 minutes.
The 17 points scored by Mouphtaou Yarou are the most he has scored in a BIG EAST game this season and his highest scoring output since having 21 points against Penn on December 3 earlier this season. His career high against a conference opponent is 18 points, set twice last season against Louisville and Marquette.
James Bell had a career-high eight assists in tonight's game, surpassing the seven helpers he had earlier this season against Delaware on November 18.
Villanova outscored Providence 38-26 in the paint, including 28-12 in the second half and 20-4 in the final 13 minutes of the game.