postGame: South Florida 70 Villanova 69

It has all come crashing down on Villanova. The Wildcats were stunned at Madison Square Garden, blowing a 16 point halftime lead to the South Florida Bulls.

Game ended approximately 9:24 PM eastern time.  South Florida Bulls defeat Villanova Wildcats 70-69.  Some notes on the game are below.

-At Madison Square Garden in the first round of the Big East Tournament, Villanova came out lethargic in the opening minutes against the lowly Bulls of South Florida.  The 15th seeded Bulls stormed out to an 8-0 lead, prompting Jay Wright to call a quick timeout.  By the first media break, guard Shaun Noriega had already hit 4 triples for USF.

-Luckily, Corey Stokes' hamstring was good enough to go in this one, and he responded with numerous bombs to quickly cut into the deficit.   Halfway through the opening stanza, the Cats had knotted the game up at 26. 

-It looked like a seesaw affair might be brewing, but Villanova really imposed their will over the last eight minutes of the first half.  A bevy of players got involved in the scoring, and the Wildcats really clamped down on the defensive end.  All in all, Nova ended the half on a 23-7 run to create some breathing room heading into the locker room.

-Halftime score: Villanova 49 South Florida 33

-For a team that lacked a killer instinct when they were winning games, it would've been nice to see Villanova put away the Bulls early in the second twenty minutes.  This was not the case though, as USF used a quick 7 point run to slice the deficit to a manageable nine.

-With the Cats leading 57-47 and about twelve minutes remaining, South Florida went on an 8-0 spurt to make it a 2 point game.  Villanova was already over the foul limit, and the hot shooting in the first half was nowhere to be found.

-By the last media timeout, Villanova led 61-59, meaning the Cats only had amassed a total of 12 points in the second half up until that point.  The game was right there for the underdog Bulls to take, because it sure looked like Villanova wanted no part of winning this one. 

-Nova led 65-64 with 90 secs left, and after getting fouled, Maalik Wayns calmly sank a pair of free throws to put them up three.  The usually sure-handed point guard for the Bulls, Anthony Crater, turned the ball over on the ensuing possession.  Corey Stokes was fouled, but he missed the front end of a 1-1, which gave USF some hope with forty ticks on the clock.  Another turnover by the Bulls and subsequent foul put Stokes on the line again, but he missed the front end of a 1-1 for the second straight trip.  An Isaiah Armwood foul gave South Florida 2 freebies to cut the lead to 1.  Off the inbounds pass, Maalik Wayns turned it over and the Bulls converted the mistake into a layup and their first lead since the first half.  Maalik made up for his mistake by sinking 2 free throws after being fouled at other end, which gave the Cats a 1 point cushion yet again.  A porous Villanova defense though allowed Crater to drive right to the hoop for a layup with 5 secs left.  With no timeouts, Wayns rushed the ball up court, but his three point attempt at the buzzer clanged off the back iron, and the Cats notched their 5th straight loss.

I have nothing to say right now after this collapse.

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