Milwaukee, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Coming off a demoralizing loss, the
fourth-ranked Villanova Wildcats try to get back in the right frame of mind as
they hit the road to battle the Marquette Golden Eagles in Big East Conference
action on Saturday afternoon.
Villanova had been cruising right along, winning 16 of its first 17 games and
steadily climbing the national polls, but then came Monday's visit from Doug
McDemott and the Creighton Bluejays. The Wildcats had no answer for the 3-
point shooting clinic the Bluejays put on, as they dropped a 96-68 decision.
The setback was Villanova's first in conference (5-1), as well as its first in
front of a favorable crowd (9-1).
Marquette has been inconsistent this season, logging an 11-8 overall record,
which includes a 3-3 league ledger. The Golden Eagles have performed well at
home (8-1), and they haven't strung together consecutive wins since wining
back-to-back games over IUPUI and Ball State on Dec. 14 and 17, respectively.
Marquette won at Georgetown in its most recent outing, 80-72, in overtime.
Villanova owns a 12-9 series advantage over Marquette, but is just 1-3 in
Milwaukee since the Golden Eagles joined the Big East back in 2005.
The teams will get together again in Philadelphia on March 2 to complete the
Creighton set a new Big East record by nailing 21 3-pointers in Monday's rout
of Villanova in Philadelphia, as Ethan Wragge drained nine treys and McDermott
added five more. For the Wildcats, James Bell hit five 3-pointers on his way
to 19 points, while JayVaughn Pinkston tacked on 11 and Darrun Hilliard added
10 of his own, but 'Nova shot just 39.7 percent from the field overall.
For the season, Villanova is still averaging a robust 80.6 ppg thanks to
typical shooting efforts of .451 overall and .345 from beyond the arc.
Defensively, the club is allowing 67.1 ppg, with foes converting just 39.1
percent of their total shots, with the 3-pointer falling at a 36.2 percent
clip. Pinkston (15.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Bell (14.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Hilliard
(13.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.9 apg) are all averaging in double figures for coach Jay
Wright's club, and it will be interesting to see how well they respond after
Davante Gardner poured in 20 points to pace five players in double figures, as
Marquette outlasted Georgetown in overtime earlier in the week. Steve Taylor
came off the bench to contribute 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds,
while Jake Thomas hit four 3-pointers on his way to 12 points, John Dawson had
a dozen as well, and Jamil Wilson finished with a line of 10 points, six
boards, five assists and three blocks. Gardner had five helpers as well, and
Dawson handed out four for a team that went 7-of-17 from beyond the arc and
21-of-25 at the free-throw line. The Hoyas were held to 37.7 field goal
Gardner (14.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) continues to pace the Golden Eagles in both
scoring and rebounding, while getting help from Wilson (11.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg),
but not much from anyone else. Six others average between 5.1 and 9.2 ppg, but
the team is more about playing tough defense as evidenced by the fact that
opponents are netting only 64.0 ppg in hitting 39.5 percent of their total
The Sports Network