Villanova played a very balanced game throughout today, and Jay Wright had a great gameplan to attack inside with Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton, but in the end a couple of late 3-pointers by the Cincinnati Bearcats doomed the Villanova Wildcats as they fell 72-68 in the regular season finale for the Big East conference.
The opening half was a bit of a struggle for Villanova, as hot shooting by Cincinnati and a late 3 at the buzzer by Cashmere Wright stretched the Bearcats' lead to 8 at the break.
Villanova stayed in the game through Dominic Cheek and Maalik Wayns, who each had 10 points in the opening stanza. After the break, Villanova's D began to tighten and they found a way to make this a great game.
More after The Jump.
Wayns was spectacular throughout and kept answering Cincinnati every time they looked like they might blow the game open. He finished with 26 points and 5 assists and played some great stuff out there. He also passed both Malik Allen and Jim Washington and now sits 47th on Villanova's all-time scoring list.
Mouphtaou Yarou, Maurice Sutton and Markus Kennedy all struggled to deal with Yancy Gates on the glass today, but on the offensive end they found a lot of success picking apart Cincinnati's zone defense. They continually worked the ball down low where Yarou knocked down shots left and right to finish with 16 points and 7 rebounds.
Dominic Cheek continued his Jekyll and Hyde act as a strong 1st half was followed up by a disappearing act as he didn't score after the break.
Late in the game with the teams trading buckets, Cincinnati hit 2 3-pointers in 3 possessions to push away from Villanova, and they couldn't get closer than 2 again.
All in all, I felt really good about the way they played today. Yeah, they couldn't close it out, but it was a great comeback and great fight showed by the team. And most importantly, Jay Wright had a great gameplan and the team executed it very well for the most part.
See you at the Big East Tournament!