Villanova coach Jay Wright freely admits that he's still trying to get over the 21-point loss that Creighton handed his team Sunday. Fortunately for Wright, his players stayed in the moment Tuesday night through regulation and two overtimes against Providence. Playing their third road game in seven days, the ninth-ranked Wildcats persevered through a plethora of missed opportunities and finally prevailed when Ryan Arcidiacono's conventional three-point play with 3.6 seconds remaining gave them an 82-79 Big East victory over the Friars before a near-sellout crowd at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Villanova (23-3, 11-2 Big East) was unable to hold on to a five-point lead in the final 68 seconds of regulation. The Wildcats had the last shot of regulation and the first overtime in a tie game, but Arcidiacono couldn't convert either time - first on a three-point attempt, then on a drive in the lane. But they kept at it, and their coach was grateful. "Honestly, I'm not great at resiliency," Wright said. "The stuff ate at me this past game [Creighton]. But these guys, like Ryan, JayVaughn [Pinkston], James Bell, Tony Chennault, are leaders. "After that Creighton game, I'm talking to people on our staff and people around us, asking them, 'How are the guys?' And they'd say, 'Great, they're ready to go.' To be up and down in this game and keep coming back . . . I'm very proud of these guys." The Friars (17-10, 7-7) tied the game for the 15th time, at 79-79, on Bryce Cotton's follow-up three-point basket with 21.4 seconds remaining in the second overtime. But following a timeout, Arcidiacono dribbled the clock down, then went to his left, got a step on the Friars' Kadeem Batts, and drove in for a lefthanded layup. Batts fouled him, and the sophomore's free throw put Villanova up by three. "I had missed the previous two game-winners," Arcidiacono said. "I got in the lane at the end of the first overtime and I thought I could do it again, and that's what I did." LaDontae Henton, whose three-point basket tied the game at the end of regulation, had a pretty good look at a tying three in the left corner in the final second, but the shot went off the front rim. Arcidiacono said it was important for the Wildcats, who shot 7 of 10 from the field in the overtimes, to move on from Sunday's 101-80 blowout loss at Creighton, and be at their best against a Providence team that needed a win to enhance its NCAA tournament chances. "We weren't going to let one game define us," he said. "We just want to respond and that's what we did. We had the game, they tied it. We had the game, they tied it. Luckily I just got the basket at the end."
Villanova tops Providence in double OT
Philly.com | Feb 19