For the first time since 2003, Villanova was one-and-done in the Big East tournament. Instead of using the tournament as a way to start a turnaround, the Wildcats suffered their fifth loss in the last seven games. Let’s look at the latest of those defeats:
- Marquette was unbelievably hot from beyond the arc. It hit all six of its attempts in the second half. More than anyone else it was Darius Johnson-Odom who hurt the Wildcats. He was 5-for-7 from deep and finished with 24 points.
- One of the reasons the Golden Eagles were able to shoot so well from deep was their patience on offense. They routinely wound the shot clock down and waited for an open three. Villanova was often too slow to rotate, and Marquette was rewarded for its patience.
- The dagger was a Lazar Hayward 3-point shot that broke a 70-70 tie with 1:51 remaining. The Wildcats never managed to tie the game again.
- The win for Marquette was sweet revenge after losing four straight to Villanova. The last four meetings between the teams have been decided by a combined nine points.
- Scottie Reynolds played possibly his worst game of the Big East season. He hit just four of ten shots and finished with 10 points. He now stands 49 points behind Kerry Kittles for the the most points in Villanova history. The Wildcats would likely have to advance to the Sweet 16 for him to break the mark.
- Villanova got off to a very slow start, and one of the reasons why was its 10 first half turnovers. Effects of the double-bye or just the standard for Villanova now?
- Corey Stokes was clearly the Wildcats best player, scoring 22 points off the bench. He hit eight of nine shots, including six of seven from long range.
- Maalik Wayns had one of his better games in recent memory, scoring eight points off the bench.
- One Wildcat who had a particularly poor performance was Reggie Redding. He shot 1-for-9 from the field and finished with just two points. He also took a very questionable shot with Villanova down 73-70 with 1:20 remaining when he forced a layup in traffic. The Wildcats never had the ball down one score again. Despite the performance, Redding led the team with 38 minutes.
- Taylor King, who’s status was questionable until Tuesday, played two minutes, committed a reckless foul and was then benched for the rest of the game. Isaiah Armwood didn’t play at all.
- The Wildcats only committed 17 fouls, held the rebounding advantage and shot a higher-percentage than Marquette but still lost.
- After the game Reynolds made a very interesting comment by saying that he felt the Wildcats were better now than they were when they were ranked No. 2 in the country. Whether its delusion or trying to remain confident, the Wildcats do not sound like a team that is free-falling the last month.
– David Cassilo
Another Red Storm upset looked like it was a possibility, but in the end Marquette prevailed 57-55, and will now face Villanova in the Big East quarterfinals for the second straight season.
After trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half, St. John’s battled all the way back and held a 53-52 lead with 2:22 to play. Two possessions later, senior guard David Cubillan hit a three-point shot to put Marquette up for good. A half-court shot at the buzzer by St. John’s for the win was off target.
Now it’s a rematch against Villanova for the Golden Eagles. A year ago, Marquette rallied all the way back from a 16-point halftime deficit to take a one-point lead late in the game. However, its upset bid fell short as Villanova’s Dwayne Anderson hit a layup at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 76-75.
The rivalry between the two teams grew as Villanova escaped Milwaukee with a 74-72 win on Jan. 2 when Scottie Reynolds sank the go-ahead basket with 19 seconds remaining.
A week later at Villanova, the Wildcats almost blew a 22-point lead, but managed to hold on 78-76.
Marquette will look to snap a four-game losing streak against Villanova at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Big East quarterfinals.