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postGame: Villanova 75 Marquette 70

Game ended at approximately 9:06 PM eastern time.  Villanova Wildcats defeat Marquette Golden Eagles 75-70.  Some notes on the game are below.

-Continuing the trend, Villanova went down 5-0 in the first minute of the game, but the defense clamped down to hold the Golden Eagles to only 2 free throws over a five minute stretch.  Corey Fisher knocked down a couple of shots to give the Cats a 9-7 lead with fourteen minutes remaining. 

-Cold shooting by both teams was the theme for most of the first half, but Mouphtaou Yarou did a nice job on the offensive glass, which allowed him to convert some second chance opportunities and get the Marquette big men into foul trouble.  At the under eight minute TV timeout, the Wildcats had a 19-12 advantage. 

-Neither squad really had a meaningful run until the end of the opening stanza.  After Marquette cut the Nova lead to 3 points with just under four minutes left, the good guys went on an 11-5 run to give themselves a little breathing room heading into the locker room.

-Halftime score: Villanova 34 Marquette 25

More on the game after the jump...

-The opening minutes of the second half saw the game turn into a seesaw affair, with each team trading buckets.  Marquette sliced the lead to 5 early, only to have Villanova respond with a few Corey Stokes jumpers.  The Cats extended the score to 46-33 after an Antonio Pena three point play with 14:30 to go.

-After Nova stretched their lead to 55-41, the Golden Eagles went on an 8-1 run to increase the panic level a little inside the Pavilion.  With seven minutes remaining, the game was officially in the balance.

-The momentum continued to swing in the opponent's favor, as Marquette's flawless execution brought them to within 3 points at the last media timeout.  A contest that once seemed very much in control was now in extreme doubt.   

-While Villanova was unable to put the dagger in much earlier in the half, they did make some plays in the last few possessions, whether it was on the offensive glass or creating contact to get to the foul line.  Yarou, Fisher, and Pena all hit crucial foul shots late to seal the hard-fought victory against the underrated Golden Eagles. 

-Filling up the stat sheet for Villanova was Mouphtaou Yarou, who scored 18 points, including 8-10 from the line, and had 6 rebounds.  Corey Fisher notched 17 points and dished out 5 assists, while Corey Stokes had 14 points.  Antonio Pena recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.  Maalik Wayns chipped in 10 points off the bench.  For the visitors, Darius Johnson-Odom and Jimmy Butler each had 15 points, but were a combined 2-9 from downtown. 

-General observations:

  • The Villanova rebounding and free throw shooting were superb tonight.  Marquette had limited second chance opportunities, and Mouphtaou Yarou had some clutch offensive rebounds to give the Wildcats extra possessions.  Overall, the Wildcats had 30 rebounds to the Golden Eagles 23 boards.  In addition, Villanova shot an astounding 29-33 from the charity stripe.  Marquette shot 93% from the line, but they only had 14 free throw attempts. 
  • Jay Wright is obviously not happy with Dominic Cheek, as he played for about twenty seconds and then was pulled in the first half.  He did not play much the rest of the game.  Jay really only gave meaningful minutes to 6 guys, which is not going to work late in the season when the stars have logged tons of minutes.
  • Obviously, the 46th consecutive win at the Pavilion is very impressive, but I'm more happy with the 1-game win streak now after losing 3 of the last 4.  This was a much needed win for Villanova's psyche. 
  • I listened to the game on the radio, and I gotta give credit to the Marquette radio announcer.  Although he was obviously very much in favor of the Golden Eagles, he called the game by himself, and did it quite well.  As he stated late in the game, "Villanova routined Marquette tonight."  He's right.  The Cats didn't really do anything out of the ordinary; they just played their game and made more plays than Marquette.