Sports

Providence coach Ed Cooley forced to use towel to cover ripped pants

Providence coach Ed Cooley forced to use towel to cover ripped pants

Providence's 76-71 win over "Nova in mid-February was the Wildcats" worst offensive output of the season (in terms of points per possession), so it's certainly not an impossible task, but with the way Villanova has looked so far in NY, it's going to take a near ideal performance to take them down.

Providence has taken pretty much the exact opposite route to the title game, beating both Creighton and Xavier in overtime.

The four straight Big East title games are one shy of Syracuse's record five straight from 1986-1990. Mikal Bridges led the team with 18 points and four rebounds while Big East player of the year Jalen Brunson added 17 points and freshman Omari Spellman notched 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Mikal Bridges added 25 for Villanova.

The Wildcats snatched the lead back and Bridges buried a 3 from the top of the arc that sent the team to their feet. The Friars appeared to be fighting fatigue, a product of the two overtime contests they had previously won. The lefty star scored the opening eight points, including a three-point play past Cartwright and his fourth 3-pointer. The Friars led that game by three with just over a minute left before ultimately falling in the closing seconds.

"What an incredible college basketball atmosphere here in the Garden", Villanova coach Jay Wright said. In reality this was a four-point game followed by two intentional foul free throws by sophomore guard Dante DiVincenzo, and then two garbage time buckets, a dunk by Brunson and a layup by DiVincenzo.

In a matter of hours, Villanova will learn their opponent for the team's first matchup on either Thursday or Friday, once the selection committee officially reveals the bracket for this year's big tournament.

Brunson tried to give the Wildcats separation with a pair of strong drives to the basket, but Cartwright nailed a step back jumper and junior Isaiah Jackson (Gainesville, Fla.) hit a transition three-pointer to pull Providence within 49-41 with 12 minutes to play. With 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting, Rodney Bullock was Providence's high scorer.

That's when Cartwright and the Friars made their move.

Brunson proceeded to miss the front-end of a one-and-one, giving the Friars a chance to tie the game.

BC-BKC-T25-BEast-Providence-Villanova, 1st Ld-Writethru, 818 Villanova tops Providence for 2nd straight Big East titleAP Photo MSG121, MSG123, MSG124, MSG119, MSG122, MSG120, MSG117Eds: No. 2 Villanova 76, Providence 66, OT.

Villanova would score the next five points capped off by a Bridges three off of an offensive rebound to take a 56-52 lead with 5:36 to play. Cartwright's short jumper bounced off the iron and with that overtime beckoned. It provides another trophy in a crowded case on campus and reaffirms the Wildcats' standing as a No. 1 seed in the bigger tournament that begins next week.

Villanova is getting a number one seed in the Big Dance but I know the team wants to go in to as the Big East champion as well.

The Wildcats hit 10 of their first 12 shots that made for an anticlimactic final 35 minutes at the Garden.

Providence with seven turnovers so far in the game.

Who We Like: Villanova has been an over-covering machine for bettors lately.

Villanova ranks 150th in rebounds per game (35.4) while Providence ranks 185th in rebounds allowed per game (35.8).


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