Updated with links to press coverage of the game:
Corey Stokes led the Cats with 16 points after missing the DePaul game with a hamstring injury and 'Nova survived Tim Higgins and a second scare in eight days against Marquette, hanging on to win 78-76.
The Wildcats led by 22-points with 13:25 left in the second half. However, they failed to put Marquette away, and saw their lead dwindle to three points with just over five minutes to play. Lazar Hayward sparked Marquette's come-back, hitting four 3-pointers in the second half. VUHoops readers certainly were worried at that point that MIKE indeed had jinxed the team with his Friday feature on the win streak at the Pavilion.
In the “what were you thinking" sequence of the day, Scotty Reynolds turned the ball over at the top of the key with 30 seconds to go and the Cat's up 75-71. On the ensuing fast break by Marquette, Corey Stokes was called for a questionable intentional foul on a Hayward layup attempt with 28 second remaining. Hayward sank both free throws and the Golden Eagles retained possession. However, Marquette failed to capitalize on the bonus possession as Jimmy Butler lost the ball on a double team by Pena, who then was fouled. Pena made two clutch free throws to seal the win.
Villanova shot a torrid 57% from the field and 47% from 3-point range vs. 43% and 48%, respectively, for Marquette. Lazar Hayward finished with 20 points and Darius Johnson-Odom had 16 for Marquette. The Golden Eagles suffered their third heart-breaking Big East loss by two points or less. They clearly are a better team than their 1-3 Big East record might indicate.
King, who led Nova with 6 rebounds, put a scare into the 'Nova faithful with 2:10 left when he dove for a loose ball and drove his head hard against Hayward's hip. King was down for several minutes, in agony and holding the back of his head. He walked off without assistance, but remained on the bench for the remainder of the contest. Coach Wright later said that King suffered a stinger.
VILLANOVA BOX SCORE
Closest to the Pin Results: With the Cat’s winning 78-76, eight VUH readers took medals. Gold Medals: Congratulations to Colt (79-75) and Lou ’06 (80-76), earning 5 points each; Silver Medals: supernova (81-76), ramon usategui (78-73) and chuck st. petersburg(79-74), earning 3 pts each; Bronze Medals: jimmy (80-74), Pete (78-72) and HoyaSaxa (76-74), earning 1 pt each. Select “read more” to see the names of the 40 readers now on our Leader Board after eleven rounds.