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Arcidiacono Helps Lift No. 9 Wildcats Past Providence 82-79
Ryan Arcidiacono

Feb. 18, 2014

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Sophomore Ryan Arcidiacono sank a driving layup with 3.6 seconds to go to help lift No. 9 Villanova to an 82-79 victory over Providence in double overtime here at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The Wildcats improved to 23-3 overall, 11-2 in the BIG EAST, including 4-0 in overtime games this season, and 3-0 after suffering a loss.

Providence falls to 17-10 overall, 7-7 in conference play.

"That's what the Big East is all about," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "That was a great college basketball game. I thought Providence was great and we made big plays when we needed them.

"I'm still trying to get over the Creighton loss (on Sunday). But these guys are so resilient. They're past it, even if I'm still trying to get there."

The win came at the end of a six-day stretch where the Wildcats played three games on the road and covered many air miles visiting Chicago, Omaha and Rhode Island. Villanova defeated DePaul last Wednesday night, fell to Creighton 101-80 on Sunday and finished the week at 2-1 with this victory.

The final basket - and a free throw that followed - gave Arcidiacono 21 points on the night.

Villanova look poised to win at the end of regulation when it held a 63-58 lead after two Arcidiacono free throws with 1:08 left. But a pair of free throws by Providence standout Bryce Cotton cut the PC deficit to 63-60 and a James Bell bid to re-establish the five point edge rolled off the rim with 35 second left in regulation. Then LaDontae Henton drained a 3-pointer from the right side to even matters at 63 with 21 seconds left.

"We thought they were going to look for Cotton or (Josh) Fortune," stated Wright. "Give them credit. They went to Henton and he made the shot."

Arcidiacono had the basketball in his hands on the final possession and was unable to convert. Harris grabbed the rebound and the Friars moved it quickly to Henton, who missed a running right-hander just before the horn.

"We practice end of game situations all the time," noted Arcidiacono. "The Blue team never gets a call so we know we just have to keep working."

Providence grabbed the early edge in the first overtime before a Darrun Hilliard 3-pointer gave the Wildcats a 72-70 lead with under a minute to play. But Cotton finished with an acrobatic move to the basket to tie the score with 26 seconds to play in the session. Villanova again had the ball for the last possession but couldn't convert.

Pinkston helped VU gain the upper hand in the second overtime with a pair of clutch hoops. The second of those came with 44 seconds left in the game and staked VU to a 79-76 advantage. However, Cotton sank another huge basket, this one a triple off of an offensive rebound, to knot matters at 79 with 26 seconds left.

This time, the Wildcats made the most of the final possession. Arcidiacono maneuvered himself on the dribble down the left side of the lane and got a layup on to the glass while being fouled with 3.6 seconds to go. He added the free throw and then VU watched as a final 3-point bid from Henton caromed off the rim.

Pinkston added 20 points and six rebounds in a career high 46 minutes.

"JayVaughn played 34 minutes and for him to play as well as he did in overtime tonight while playing 46 minutes is big," noted Wright.

Senior James Bell ended the night with 17 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Daniel Ochefu contributed 11 points and eight rebounds in a career-high 38 minutes of action. Junior Darrun Hilliard added 11 points in 43 minutes..

Cotton led all scorers with 22 points and seven rebounds and Kadeem Batts posted a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

The Wildcats will host a game for the first time in more than two weeks on Saturday when red-hot St. John's comes to the Wells Fargo Center. That contest will tip off at 1:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1 with Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery handling the call.

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