Villanova Tops Providence In OT For 2nd Straight Big East Title

The Providence Friars trailed the nation's No. 3-ranked Xavier Musketeers 52-35 with under 15 minutes left in the second half of Friday night's Big East semifinals game, and incredibly came back to win the game 75-72 in overtime.

The Providence College Friars are headed to the Big East Finals after they overcame a 17 point deficit to defeat Xavier on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Alpha Diallo (Providence) scored a team-high 19 points for the winning team, making 7 of 14 attempts from the field for a 44.4% field goal percentage. His concern was his fellow seniors, led by Rodney Bullock and Jalen Lindsey.

Epperson, Ballock and Marcus Foster each scored seven points by the intermission, and CU dished 10 assists on 12 baskets.

Malique Trent-Street scored 15 points to lead the Pirates (19-15), who also were seeking their third MEAC title in five years. What makes the team so hard to defend is its ability to move the ball until someone gets an open shot. PC played to 94 percent capacity (averaging 11,922) at The Dunk this season with six of nine Big East games having crowds over 11,000 ...

Second-seeded UMBC (24-10) had lost 23 consecutive times to the Catamounts over the last 10 years, but rallied to earn its first NCAA Tournament trip since 2008. I just want them to see that I'm coming at them every play, every play, every play - no matter what the situation is. "I think we are ready for the tournament and we are going to make some noise". "We have high hopes".

Providence had the final possession of regulation, but a Cartwright jump shot just missed, sending the game to overtime.

Jackson noticed Cooley's problem with his trousers but didn't say anything because he was too focused on the game. We wanted to bring two [defenders] to the ball, that worked for us all game. And I know how much time Mitch spends in there - usually because the music he plays is a little different than everybody else's, so I know it's him, him or Tyler Clement.

But Bridges and Brunson were the difference for Villanova.

"We made a lot of mistakes, but these guys made timely plays, timely shots, free throws", Cooley said.

Villanova won the game 76-66 in overtime.

The Friars (21-13), even in defeat, were impressive over the past three days, going to overtime three times and knocking off Creighton and Xavier. They have five players who can shoot the ball on the court at all times.

Cartwright converted, splashing a fade away as the shot clock expired to tie the score at 58 with 1:28 to go. Cooley opted not to call a timeout and the Friars ended up with a decent 14-foot look by Cartwright that fell off the rim at the buzzer.

Villanova took a 31-27 advantage into the intermission.

Big East player of the year Jalen Brunson tied it for Villanova with two free throws.

Foster gave Creighton a 58-56 lead with 1:20 left in regulation on a nifty spin move got him to the rim.

Brunson proved his worth as the best in the conference.

Nate Watson pulls Providence within two after a three-point play. They used those numbers to open up a 44-25 lead at halftime.

Cooley then went to the bench for Drew Edwards and the pesky defender slowed Brunson's onslaught.

Villanova lead by 12 on two other occasions during the second half, with a Cartwright jumper with 10:39 remaining starting a 10-0 Providence run that would ultimately tie the score at 51.

  • Julie Sanders