Justin Lewis Hits a Three Pointer With 13 Seconds to Play as Marquette Wins 57 – 54
VILLANOVA, PA – January 19, 2022
The #11 Villanova Wildcats lost a game at the Finneran Pavilion for the first time this season. The defeat ended an overall six-game winning streak. Marquette forward Justin Lewis drained a three-pointer off a scramble with 13 seconds on the clock to provide the winning points for the Golden Eagles.
Lewis scored the last seven points for Marquette over the last two minutes. In their last possession the Golden Eagles looked for the game winner holding the ball as the clock wound down. Guard Tyler Kolek had the ball. The Nova defense collapsed on him and the ball came loose. Lewis was in the right place to pick up the ball straight on towards the basket. He turned putting up the shot in one motion and the ball went through the net. It was one of those fifty-fifty plays that went in the direction of the Golden Eagles.
“I just wanted to win the game for my teammates,” said Lewis humbly.
Villanova had another opportunity. Seven ticks remained on the clock. Moore had the ball and put up a potential game tying three pointer. He missed. In the contest for the rebound, the ball was knocked away from the Wildcats basket. Collin Gillespie gathered the rebound far up-court as the horn sounded.
“The play was designed to come off and take the shot or make a play for somebody else,” said Moore. “We did what we wanted to do. The shot didn’t go in.”
In the hotly contested game that saw no lead greater than six until the second half. The Wildcats took control with just under fourteen minutes to play. Nova forward Brandon Slater made a three-pointer that began a 12 – 0 run. A basket form deep from Moore put Villanova ahead 45 – 36 with 10:53 to go. In this game leads evaporated quickly. Within two and a half minutes Marquette was back to within a possession. The Wildcats took a four point lead with 2:19 to play on a Gillespie three-point play. That would be the last points Nova would score. And twenty-two seconds later Lewis began his run of points.
“We executed right to the end, but didn’t make the shots,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “That’s going to happen sometimes. You look at the little things you do in a one possession game. You look back, every possession matters. They did a better job than us.”
Lewis scored a game-high 21 points, two shy of his career-high. Five of his baskets came from deep. Lewis also led the team in rebounds with 7 caroms. Greg Elliott added 14 points for the Golden Eagles.
Nova had three players break double-digits. Eric Dixon scored 15 points, his seventh game in double figures, and thrid consecutive. Moore contributed 13 points and Gillespie had 10 points. Forward Jermaine Samuels took down 10 rebounds.
Marquette improves to 13 – 6 and 5 – 3 in conference. They take on another ranked team in Xavier at home on Sunday. The Golden Eagles are on a five game winning streak. They had been averaging 85 points per game in the streak. This game they won in a different manner.
“The game wasn’t played at the pace we want, give Villanova credit for that,” said Marquette Coach Shaka Smart. “Our guys hung in there. We got ten of eleven stops down the stretch. We talk about defense being our anchor, what we hang our hat on. That ended up winning it today.”
Villanova goes to 13 – 5 and loses their second Big East game of the season against 6 wins. The Wildcats hope to start another winning streak on Saturday at Georgetown.
At halftime of the game Villanova retired the jersey of former All-American Josh Hart. He was a two-time MVP of the Big East Tournament. In 2017 Hart was a consensus first team All-American and the winner of the Julius Erving Award. In 2016 Hart was the leading scorer on the NCAA Championship team. He currently plays with the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA.
Written By: Glenn Papazian