Another slow start and a great performance from Darius Johnson-Odom ultimately doomed Villanova today, but there were some solid stretches of basketball and some encouraging signs against one of the conference's toughest teams. Eventually there were just too many lapses in focus and not enough offense for long stretches to keep up however, and 'Nova fell 81-77.
Down just 40-37 at the half, it looked like this was a game Villanova could steal in the 2nd half if they continued their good play from the end of the 1st half. But it wasn't meant to be.
More after The Jump.
Villanova came out in the 2nd half asleep and Marquette quickly stretched their lead to as much as 15. Much of that was due to Jae Crowder, who looked like he finally wanted to play after a terrible first half. The slow start there was really what killed them.
Give this 'Nova team credit though - they sure don't quit. Despite bricks being thrown up left and right by both Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek, timely contributions from Markus Kennedy (who played the best game of his career), JayVaughn Pinkston and Darrun Hilliard continued to keep Villanova afloat.
But as the minutes waned down, there were too many of the same mistakes we're used to to really get back into the game. All 3 of Villanova's point guards (Wayns, Hilliard and Ty Johnson) also fouled out, which meant a late game appearance from Dallas Ouano.
In the end, Marquette was able to keep Villanova at arm's length though, and take the W despite doing everything in their power to let Villanova almost take this one.
P.S. Where the hell was James Bell?