MILWAUKEE – No. 10 ranked Marquette edged No. 14 Villanova 66-65 to end the Wildcats’ 11-game winning streak and hand them their first BIG EAST loss on a Saturday when all 10 league teams were in action and three of the five games were decided in the final minute. As the week begins, five teams are tied for third place in the BIG EAST with 5-6 records.
Marquette, 20-4 overall and 9-2 in the BIG EAST, took a 57-55 lead on a basket by Markus Howard with 5:05 remaining, then held off the Wildcats before a record crowd of 17,856 at Fiserv Forum. Howard scored 38 points, which included 5-of-11 from 3-point range and 7-of-7 from the foul line. Sacar Anim contributed some key plays down the stretch and finished with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Phil Booth led Villanova, which fell to 19-5 overall and 10-1 in league, with 19 points.
In conference games this season, home teams are only 30-25. Twenty-five of the 55 conference games (.454) played have been decided by six points or less or gone into overtime.
Butler and Georgetown became two of the 5-6 teams in the standings after the Bulldogs pulled out a 73-69 win over the Hoyas at Capital One Arena. Butler led 41-35 at halftime and maintained a close lead throughout the second half. Kamar Baldwin led the Bulldogs with 18 points and Jordan Tucker added 15 points. Mac McClung scored a game-high 21 points for Georgetown.
DePaul and Seton Hall joined the 5-6 group with wins in the evening. The Blue Demons pulled away late in a 74-62 win at Xavier. Max Strus had a strong second half and finished with 17 points. Femi Olujobi had 15 points and nine rebounds and Paul Reed added 15 points and eight boards. Xavier’s Naji Marshall scored a game-high 22 points.
Seton Hall’s Myles Powell led a late surge, scoring his team’s final nine points in a 63-58 victory over Creighton. The Pirates ended the game with an 11-2 run. Powell scored 22 points and Quincy McKnight added 14 points. Creighton’s Martin Krampelj posted his second straight double-double with a game-high 25 points and 11 rebounds.
The Saturday action started at Madison Square Garden where Providence played a strong second half and registered a 70-56 win over St. John’s, which fell back to 5-6 in the league. The Friars’ Nate Watson scored 18 points and Alpha Diallo added 10 points and 15 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. PC enjoyed a 43-23 rebounding edge. Shamorie Ponds scored 20 points, his ninth straight league game with 20 points or more.