Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
Hart made 9 of 18 shots from the field, including 4 of 8 from 3-point territory, and 7 of 8 free throws.
Villanova had advanced to the Big East tournament title game for the third season in a row. It became only the fifth team in conference history to move to the championship game in three consecutive seasons. Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Syracuse are the others to accomplish the feat. The Wildcats routed eighth-seeded St. John’s 108-67 in the quarterfinals and edged fifth-seeded Seton Hall 55-53 in the semifinal round on Friday before closing out sixth-seeded Creighton for the title. Villanova is now 3-5 all time in the Big East tournament final, with its other championships in 1995 and 2015.
Marcus Foster and Cole Huff led Creighton with 13 points apiece and Justin Patton added 10.
Despite the loss, their third of the season against the defending national champion Wildcats, the Bluejays (25-9) are a lock for an NCAA Tournament berth.
Villanova didn’t relax after building a 14-point halftime lead.
When Hart drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key, the Wildcats went ahead 46-26.
After Creighton got within 57-45, Hart and Brunson each knocked down two free throws to quickly extend Villanova’s lead back to 16 at 61-45.
The Bluejays never cut the lead within double figures in the final four minutes.
Villanova broke open a close game early with Hart scoring 11 straight points for a 22-17 lead.
Hart stayed aggressive and the Wildcats went on a 8-0 run to take a 30-20 advantage. Hart and Brunson combined for 26 points in the first half as Villanova went into the locker room with a 36-22 lead.
It was the second consecutive game that Villanova held its opponent below 30 points in the first half.
NOTES: The 35th Big East tournament final at Madison Square Garden was a complete sellout. … Creighton had 10 turnovers in the first half and wound up with 17, tying a season high. … The Bluejays are 5-4 all time in the Big East tournament. … Villanova was 15 of 19 from the free throw line. … Creighton has at least 25 wins for the sixth time in program history. … Villanova G Jalen Brunson scored in double figures in all three Big East tournament games.