Villanova 76, Providence 66
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
NEW YORK – Jalen Brunson had 31 points, six rebounds and four assists and Mikal Bridges added 25 points as the No. 2 Villanova Wildcats won the Big East tournament with a 76-66 overtime win over the Providence Friars on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Wildcats outscored Providence 16-6 in the five-minute overtime period, with Bridges hitting two 3-pointers, Brunson making a dunk and a layup and Donte DiVencenzo adding a layup and a pair of free throws.
Alpha Diallo had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Kyron Cartwright added 19 points to lead the Friars.
Villanova won its fifth straight game and further cemented a No. 1 seeding in the NCAA Tournament, and Providence helped its cause for an at-large bid.
The Wildcats led by as much as 12 in the second half and held a 51-41 advantage with 11:11 left in the game, but Providence stormed back behind Cartwright.
Cartwright had eight straight points, including two 3-pointers, in a 92 second run midway through the second half to get the Friars back into the game.
Cartwright delivered again late, hitting a jumper with 1:42 left in the game and then finding Alpha Diallo for a layup with 41 seconds left to take a 60-58 lead. Brunson knotted the game at 60 with a pair of free throws to force overtime.
The Wildcats shot just 43.8 percent from the field but held Providence to 37.7 percent field-goal shooting and 26.1 percent from 3-point range.
Villanova jumped to a 9-2 lead to start the game and led by as much as 10 in the first half before Providence made a run at then end to cut the halftime deficit to 31-27.
Brunson had 13 first-half points and Bridges had 12, as the duo combined for 9-of-14 shooting.
Diallo had 11 points in the first half for Providence, which helped its cause with a 19-14 rebounding advantage.
The Wildcats dominated the boards down the stretch, however, and finished with a 41-36 advantage on the glass, with Eric Paschall leading the way with 13 rebounds.
The game was a rematch of the two teams’ Feb. 15 game, which Providence won 76-71 by holding Brunson to 14 points.
–Field Level Media