Villanova fought back from down six points with 4:26 remaining in the game to tie Syracuse 61-61 with a Ryan Arcidiacono three-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining. James Bell took over the scoring in overtime with 8 points as the Wildcats grabbed a 75-71 win. The victory over #3 Syracuse came on the heels of a win over #5 Louisville on Tuesday night. 'Nova advances to 13-7 overall and 4-3 in Big East play.
33.3% FG defense
Won the battle of the boards
Intensity, scrappiness, desire, heart
Hilliard's blazing start and quality play throughout the game
Yarou's gritty O-board on the final possession of regulation
James "Big Shot" Bell with the strong dribble-drive and the consecutive 3-balls in OT
Arcidiacono's three-ball with 2.2 remaining to send it to OT
The Carter-Williams missed FT gave the Cats a chance … and they capitalized
17 assists on 24 made baskets
Balanced scoring both inside-outside and across the 5 primary scorers
Not so goods:
18-30 FT shooting (60%)
Outscored by 6 at the charity stripe
-7 turnover margin. When you consider how little FCP Syracuse applied, the 14 TOs were a little more than one would expect - but an improvement over recent games
Player Evals & Stats
41 Min, 3-12 FG, 2-8 3PFG, 2-3 FT, 3 Reb, 2 Asst, 2 TO, 2 Stl, 10 Pts
Struggled shooting the ball but found a way to hit two clutch three-pointers in the game - obviously the Cats don't win without his leaner, three-ball with 2.2 seconds remaining to tie the game. When it came to loose balls - nobody on the court pursued them with greater passion. Arcidiacono laid it out several times to recover 50/50 balls and allow Villanova to keep or gain the ball on critical possessions. Gutsy performance.
38 Min, 8-11 FG, 3-6 3PFG, 6-9 FT, 7 Reb, 6 Asst, 0 TO, 1 Stl, 0 Blk, 25 Pts
A massive game. Hilliard came out on fire and helped 'Nova to grab a quick 10-0 lead with 7 points of his own. He scored 15 in the first half alone to go with quality defense, some effective passing against the zone and a good rebounding effort as well. Though the rest of the time provided a lot of the heroic scoring late in the game, it was Hilliard who put the Cats in the position to win with a great individual performance and excellent floor game.
23 Min, 2-6 FG, 0-1 3PFG, 5-8 FT, 9 Rebs, 4 Asst, 4 TO, 1 Blk, 1 Stl, 9 Pts
One of his better rebounding games. DId some effective work from the high post against the 'Cuse zone. He once again was in foul trouble - causing Coach Wright to have to sub offense-defense late in the game to keep Pinkston "eligible" to contribute more offense. Only 6 FG attempts despite a lot of touches. Pinkston was a bit sloppy with his handle on spin moves in the lane and continued his streak of at least one stepping out of bounds turnover per game.
32 Min, 5-12 FG, 3-9 3PFG, 0-2 FT, 8 Rebs, 0 Asst, 2 TOs, 1 Blk, 1 Stl, 13 Pts
Bell continues to show the mental toughness to turn it on down the stretch in games. He made a hard-nosed, tough drive to give the Cats a lead in OT and followed it up with back-to-back three-balls that really made the difference in OT for 'Nova. Bell was strong on the glass in this game as well.
40 Min, 5-10 FG, 4-6 FT, 16 Rebs, 2 Asst, 1 TO, 1 Blk, 0 Stl, 14 Pts
The resurgence of Yarou over the past several weeks has been a key to potentially turning around the Cats chances for doing something special during Yarou's senior campaign. He shot the ball well, got the 'Cuse bigs in foul trouble and rebounded the air out of the ball. His offensive rebounding was a key component of the win - in particular the late board that set up the Arcidiacono game-tying 3-ball.
13 Min, 0-2 FG, 0-1 3PFG, 0-0 FTs, 0 Rebs, 0 Stl, 1 Asst., 2 TOs, 0 Pts
The offense sputtered a bit with Chennault at the helm. Both of his FG attempts came tantalizingly close to dropping for him.
3 Min, 0-1 FG
Got a brief run to fill in when fouls were an issue.
22 Min, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3PFG, 1-2 FTs, 2 Reb, 2 Asst, 3 TO, 0 Blk, 0 Stl, 1 Pts
A learning experience game for the young big. He made a couple of nice passes against the Syracuse zone but also struggled a bit at times to make good decisions against the length and athleticism of the Orange zone defense.
13 Min, 1-2 FG, 1-2 3PFG, 0-0 FTs, 2 Rebs, 0 Asst, 0 Stl, 0 TO, 0 Blk, 3 Pts
Nailed an important, deep three-ball in from of the Villanova bench to answer one of Triche's daggers. Again, he provided defense, rebounding and passion. Got yanked by Coach Wright quickly in the first-half for blowing an assignment in transition.
It isn't often that a team gets to play consecutive games against Top 5 or Top 10 ranked teams let alone win them both. A quick back at a few other "hot streaks" against top ranked teams in Villanova hoops history:
The 1985 team best UNC (#7), Memphis St. (#5) and Georgetown (#1) in succession to win the National Championship.
The 1971 team beat Fordham (#9), Penn (#3), and Western Kentucky (#7) in a row to reach the National Championship game.
The 2009 team beat Duke (#6) and Pitt (#4) in the regional semi-finals and finals to advance to the Final Four.
The Cats next lace them up at 6:00 PM on Wednesday night in South Bend against a Notre Dame team that is currently ranked #24. A "natural hat trick" against ranked teams would be quite a turn of events for a young Wildcat squad that seemed so out of psych only a week ago in a loss to Providence … and is now thinking about building off these wins to create an NCAA Tournament-worthy resume.