#1 Villanova 84 #9 Marquette 49 – Just a year ago the Wildcats stumbled in the tournament quarterfinal round against Seton Hall. This year they suffered no such pitfall easily downing the Marquette Golden Eagles at Madison Square Garden. In fact Villanova sent a message. The Wildcats tied a school and a Big East Tournament record making 17 three-point field goals in the contest. Guard Josh Hart led the way making 5 from distance for his game-high 20 points. Darrun Hilliard, Dylan Ennis, and Kris Jenkins drained three each from beyond the arc while Phil Booth added two more. Ryan Arcidiacono had one three-point field goal. For the game Villanova shot 30 of 57 (52.6%) and converted 17 of 29 from deep. The Wildcats registered 22 assists.
Villanova jumped out to an 18 – 4 lead only to see Marquette crawl to within 18 – 16 with 11:27 remaining in the first half. The Cats responded with 17 straight points to build the lead 35 – 16 and the Eagles were behind by double digits the rest of the game.
“We’re a good shooting team,” said Villanova Coach Wright. “So when you have (days) like that, you’re going to win most games. But when you’re a shooting team, there’s going to be some nights where you don’t make those shots, and you can’t be afraid to let them fly. You’ve got to be able to do other things when you’re not making shots.
“That’s why I thought it was so important that we hit shots early against that zone. Early in the first half, we took a lot of threes. If we’re missing those and they’re getting out in transition, it’s a different game. So, when you make them, it makes a big difference.”
The Wildcats forced 22 Golden Eagles turnovers that translated into 25 points for Nova.
With the win #3/4 Villanova improves to 30 – 2 overall matching the school record for victories in a single season since the 2008-09 team went 30 – 8, and was also the last team to advance to the Big East Tournament semifinals. The opposition will be the 4th seeded Providence Friars.