Home > Uncategorized > Villanova 76 Marquette 75: Quick recap

Villanova 76 Marquette 75: Quick recap

BEast Marquette Villanova Basketball

Before the ball left Dwayne Anderson’s hand as time expired, words like “collapse” and “choke” were being thrown around.  After the ball dangled around the rim before eventually falling in on his reverse layup, the Wildcats were no longer choking but instead breathing a sigh of relief.  They would live to see another day in the Big East Tournament.

“It felt like it rolled forever,” said Head Coach Jay Wright.  “I think I will always remember that one.”

Villanova had led the game since they took a 7-5 lead on a 3-point shot by sophomore guard Corey Fisher with 15:41 remaining in the first half.  However, junior guard Lazar Hayward capped a furious Marquette rally when he connected on a 3-point shot to give Marquette a 75-74 with 1:36 left in the game.

On Villanova’s next possession, sophomore guard Corey Stokes was called for traveling with 40 seconds left.  Wright called a time out and instructed his team not to foul and instead, hope to cause a missed shot.  He also made sure that his most experienced players were on the floor for the finals 40 seconds.

On the next Marquette possession, McNeal was blocked by senior forward Dante Cunningham on a drive to the basket.  The defensive stop gave Villanova one last shot.

With the clock running down, junior guard Reggie Redding drove to the basket and found Anderson, who had gotten free under the rim.  Anderson put up a reverse layup as time expired that eventually fell after rolling around the basket for several seconds.  The comeback was thwarted and Villanova had won.

“Reggie is a player so he tried to make a play,” said Anderson.  “I guess he saw me cutting to the basket at the last second.  Game-winning shot.”

At halftime it never seemed like Villanova would need a miracle last-second shot.  They led the Golden Eagles 47-31 at the break.  The lead was built mostly because of the strong play from junior guard Scottie Reynolds, who had 18 points at intermission.  His performance was crucial because Villanova played the majority of the first half without Cunningham and Anderson who both picked up two fouls early.  Remarkably, Villanova went on an 11-0 after Cunningham picked up that foul.  The foul was one of 43 the two teams combined for in the game.

Villanova also was able to build up their lead due to Marquette’s poor shooting.  In the first half the Golden Eagles shot 20.8 percent, including 2-12 from beyond the arc.

Coming out of the break, Marquette went on an 11-2 run and quickly established that they were not going to fold despite the large deficit.  Their run was fueled by sophomore guard Jimmy Butler.  A bench player who averaged just 5.3 points per game coming into the contest, Butler scored 19 points.  It was the first time he had led the team in scoring all season.

His play was crucial to the comeback because of the struggles of Marquette’s two leading scorers, senior guards Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews.  The two players combined to shoot 5-27 from the field.  

Villanova relied on a bench player of their own in the second half in its effort to maintain its lead.  Sophomore guard Corey Stokes had 13 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes, including a span when he scored eight straight Villanova points.

The only player to outscore Stokes on Villanova was Reynolds.  He finished the afternoon with 21 points and a career-high eight rebounds.

The win for Villanova means that they will reach the Big East semifinals for the 16th time in its history.  The Wildcats will face the Louisville Cardinals at 7 p.m. tomorrow night.  In their first meeting, Louisville beat Villanova 61-60 at the Wachovia Center.

-David Cassilo

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