Feb. 23, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats used a surge midway through the second half to gain command of the lead and went on to post a 60-56 victory over No. 17 Marquette before a sellout crowd on Senior Night at the Pavilion on Saturday night. The Wildcats are now 18-10 overall, 9-6 in the BIG EAST while the Golden Eagles fall to 19-7 overall, 10-4 in the conference.
"Marquette wins a lot of games just because they compete harder and execute better," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "We even talked about it as a team in the locker room after the game. Even when they were down in the game on the road they kept making extra passes, running their stuff right to the bitter end. They are very well-coached.
"You always love to win. But to be able to play with them like that really makes us proud as a team."
Sophomore Darrun Hilliard led all scorers with 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. Ryan Arcidiacono and JayVaughn Pinkston added 11 points, and senior Mouphtaou Yarou - who was honored along with fellow senior Maurice Sutton in pre-game ceremonies - contributed 10 points and seven rebounds in 36 minutes.
The Golden Eagles were led by Junior Cadougan's 12 points.
In an echo of earlier BIG EAST games played here this season, defense was the buzzword of the early minutes of the contest. Hilliard netted the game's first two points after making a steal but the next eight minutes were defined by gritty man-to-man defense at both ends of the court.
With 8:27 gone in the first half, Villanova held an 8-6 advantage.
Todd Mayo gave the Golden Eagles a spark, scoring seven points to help Marquette grab its first lead of the night with just over six minutes left. The go-ahead basket came on a nifty backdoor cut and feed from Cadougan.
The first half concluded with the score knotted at 22.
"It was tied at 22 and the half and there really weren't any adjustments to make," stated Wright. "We knew we were going to get tough shots."
The two teams combined to shoot 13-of-46 from the field in the first 20 minutes. The Wildcats were 6-of-22 from the field in the period (.273) while the Golden Eagles were 7-of-24 (.292). Marquette out-rebounded VU by the count of 22-15.
Hilliard led all scorers with eight points while Ryan Arcidiacono had seven points in the first period. Mayo's seven points topped Marquette.
The early stages of the second half produced more points but the tenor of the tussle remained taut. It wasn't until Hilliard led the Wildcats on an 11-4 run midway through the second half that Villanova was able to create some separation. Villanova grabbed the lead and managed to keep Marquette at bay the rest of the way.
The final count was 60-56.
VU owned a 17-2 edge in points off of turnovers while Marquette out-rebounded the Wildcats by 37-24. Villanova sank 13-of-23 (.565) in the second half while the Golden Eagles were 15-of-25 (.600).
The Wildcats have little time to savor their triumph. On Monday, Villanova visits Seton Hall at 9:00 p.m. at the Prudential Center (ESPNU/610 WIP).