It took two overtimes, but the Villanova Wildcats outlasted the stingy Providence Friars and pulled off the victory Tuesday night. Villanova University suffered their third loss of the season Sunday to Creighton University and was able to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this season. Villanova struggled from the free throw line and was unable to capitalize on the last possession of regulation and the first overtime.
With the win Villanova improves to 23-3 on the season and 11-2 in the Big East. In the games following each of their three loses, Villanova has gone on to win in overtime. Despite their latest loss to Creighton, Villanova remained in the top 10 and continues to be talked about as a top team with March Madness just around the corner. One thing they need to be worried about after tonight’s game is their ability to make free throws and close out games.
Earlier this season Villanova beat Providence 91-61 but tonight Providence played a tough game and matched Villanova, basket for basket, throughout. Villanova shot only 62.5 percent (15-24) from the free throw line and it came back to bite them, sending them into a double-overtime game.
If they hope to be serious contenders in next month’s tournament, they cannot afford to miss free throws. Villanova stole tonight’s game against a younger, less talented Providence team but may not be as fortunate when it comes to the top teams of March Madness.
Villanova had the ball, shot clock unplugged, at the end of regulation, and both overtime periods but only converted on their last attempt. Third time’s the charm. Of their 26 games, eight of them have been decided by single digits, all wins. Although they have closed games out well so far this season, they do not want to see this evenings performance become a habit.
The team will need to work on free throws and focus down the stretch and they could become a very dangerous team in March. They possess solid starting five, all of which scored double digits tonight, and a deep bench that contributes offensively and defensively.