If there was some concern that Villanova would enter the NCAA tournament without having to break a sweat in winning three games at Madison Square Garden, that was quickly erased on Saturday night in what became a grinding game of attrition against Providence.
LAS VEGAS - Troy Kell scored 28 points to lead San Diego State to an 82-75 victory over New Mexico.
The Friars will now wait to see where they are seeded in the NCAA Tournament.
We have reached halftime with Villanova ahead 31-27.
"I don't know what I would do, man", he said.
The Wildcats lead by four at the half, and extended their lead to 12 early in the second frame.
- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 11, 2018Providence Coach Ed Cooley is so into the Big East title game that he ripped his trousers. Brunson and Bridges carried the Wildcats though a wild game in which momentum swung drastically from the start, when No. 2 seed Villanova got off to a nine-point lead before No. 5 seed Providence (21-13) punched back to tie the score. With one stunning rally on its resume, Providence almost made it two. Brunson seems boring in comparison until a glance at Saturday's box score reveals he had 31 points in a championship game so high energy that Providence Coach Ed Cooley split his trousers.
Providence missed a last-gasp shot at the buzzer. She had four assists and three steals and hit four free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Brunson proved his worth as the best in the conference. Being in tough games in these environments, in these arenas, sometimes people can crumble. Some of those rebounds I wish would have ended up in our hands, but you can't wish, you gotta go get 'em.
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In the Big East championship game, the Wildcats will face off against an opponent not many thought would still be standing, the Providence Friars. "When I went to sit down, I tweaked my knee and it felt amusing for a second".
Q. At the risk of being personal, the towel you were fashioning, I assume there was a sartorial mishap?
Cartwright put Providence's comeback in overdrive when he hit a 3 that made it 51-46 and had Cooley smiling and clapping on the sideline.
Drew Edwards flexed his biceps when he was fouled on a tying basket and had the crowd chanting "Let's Go Friars!" headed into a timeout.
The Wildcats snatched the lead back and Bridges buried a 3 from the top of the arc that sent the team to their feet. "You hope you get a little lead and create some separation", coach Jay Wright said. The Friars are the first team in the Big East Tournament to play three straight overtime games. He noted that this team's inconsistent play has been frustrating at times but now it's time to build on this week's consistently tough, gritty performances.
Providence: The Friars need some rest following a grueling weekend in NY.
Thanks to its run to the Big East finals Providence now has a profile that's equal, if not superior, to the Bluejays and Bulldogs. What else is new?
Providence: The Friars are headed to their fifth straight NCAA Tournament. Perhaps the most impressive part, Providence held each of those teams-who are both in the top 25 nationally in offensive efficiency-below 1.00 points per possession.