March 1, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - In the view of head coach Jay Wright, the Villanova Wildcats have moved past a last-second 66-65 loss at Seton Hall on Monday evening and now are solely focused on this Sunday's game at No. 23 Pittsburgh. The contest takes place at the Petersen Events Center (Noon/PHL 17).
"I just thought Seton Hall played a tremendous game against us," stated Wright. "They made 13 3's and it was a typical tough game on the road in the Big East. We got stung at the buzzer.
"We've had a good week of practice and I think we learned from that experience. We have great respect for Pitt and know how tough they are to play at the Petersen Events Center. We know we'll have to play our best basketball there but we are confident and ready to go."
The Panthers (22-7 overall, 10-6 BIG EAST) claimed an earlier meeting between the two squads at the Pavilion on Jan. 16, scoring the final 15 points of the game while holding VU scoreless over the last 5:13 en route to a 58-43 triumph.
Senior Mouphtaou Yarou scored his 999 and 1,000th career points when he sank a pivotal bucket with the shot clock nearing zero with 24.5 seconds left to give VU a 65-61 edge. But Fuquan Edwin converted a pair of free throws and the Pirates then forced a turnover, which led to an Edwin corner triple to give the Hall back the lead with 8.9 seconds remaining. A bid to give the `Cats a win at the buzzer by Ryan Arcidiacono was short and the Hall had snapped a 10-game losing streak to Villanova that dated to 2004.
The Wildcats will be looking to snap a nine-game skid in Pittsburgh. Villanova's last win on the road against the Panthers came on Feb. 17, 1996 at Fitzgerald Field House. VU is 0-5 lifetime at the Petersen Events Center.
Darrun Hilliard led the Wildcats with 14 points in the January meeting between the two squads at the Pavilion. But Villanova never did get its offense untracked that night and the 43 points established a new scoring low for the Wildcats at the Pavilion.
"I watched the tape of that game and Pitt just dominated the glass," stated Wright. "They physically beat us up and we just couldn't score at the end of the game. I do think we have gotten better since we played them.
"But I've also watched all of Pitt's games since they've played us and they have gotten better too. They had some turnovers against us and I think they are a lot more precise offensively than they were."
In addition to his 1,000 career points, Yarou also has 790 career rebounds. With ten more caroms, he would become only the ninth player in program history to score 1,000 or more points and collect 800 or more caroms over the course of his Villanova career.
Following their encounter with Pitt - which will celebrate its Senior Day on Sunday - the Wildcats return to Philadelphia to wrap up the regular season on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against Georgetown (7:00 p.m./ESPN2/1210 WPHT Radio).