Villanova and Marquette squared off in a Big East Conference game at the Pavilion on Saturday, February 23rd. Marquette entered the game with a #17 national ranking. Prior to the game, Villanova honored its two senior basketball players, Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton.
In the first twenty minutes, both teams played hard, but appeared to be offensively challenged. After Villanova grabbed a 12-7 lead, Marquette went on a 11-2 run to go out in front 18-14. The Wildcats regained the lead 19-18, then Marquette went back on top 20-19. Villanova, once again, edged in front on a Yarou bucket 21-20. At the half, the teams were deadlocked 22-22. Both teams shot less than 30% from the field in the opening half. Villanova shot 27.3% (6 for 22), Marquette 29.2% (7 for 24). Darrun Hilliard led the Wildcats with 8 points. Todd Mayo had 7 points for the Golden Eagles.
Both teams picked up the pace to start the second half. Following several ties and lead changes, Villanova went ahead for good 31-30 on a basket by JayVaughn Pinkston. The Wildcats then went up by 8 on a three-pointer by Hilliard, 46-38. Villanova upped its lead to 10 points on another basket by Hilliard to make it 50-40. The Golden Eagles made a late charge after finding themselves down 56-45, to cut the margin to 56-52 on a basket by Junior Cadougan. The Wildcats, however, refused to relinquish the lead and held on for a 60-56 victory in the bruising Big East battle.
For the Wildcats, Hilliard scored a game high 22 points on 7 for 10 shooting, including 3 of 5 from three-point range. Ryan Arcidiacono and Pinkston each chipped in 11 points, and Yarou added 10. Yarou was Villanova’s leading rebounder with 7. Arcidiacono and Tony Chennault each had three assists and only 1 turnover between them. For the Golden Eagles, Cadougan was their high scorer with 12 points, most of them came late in the game. Steve Taylor, Jr. led the way on the boards with 8. Villanova hit 18 of 25 shots from the charity stripe compared to 9 of 14 for Marquette.
With the victory, Villanova, which won for the third time in a row, improved its record to 18-10, 9-6 Big East. Marquette, entered the game in possession of a share of first place in the Big East Conference, but with the loss, fell to 19-7 , 10-4 in the Big East.
Next up for Villanova is a game at Seton Hall at 9pm on Monday night February 25th. Marquette will return to action when it entertains Syracuse on the same day.
You can view additional game photos below (click thumbnails to enlarge):