Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
No. 1 Villanova edges Marquette to improve to 20-1
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jalen Brunson scored 31 points despite leaving the game briefly with a left ankle injury, Donte DiVincenzo added 23 and top-ranked Villanova avoided another upset in Milwaukee with an 85-82 win Sunday over Marquette.
Four players scored in double figures for the Wildcats (20-1, 7-1 Big East), who turned away surge after surge from Marquette (13-8, 4-5) to survive in front of a rowdy crowd at the Bradley Center.
It was a year ago that Marquette upset a then-No. 1 Villanova team in another down-to-the-wire thriller .
The Wildcats dodged another takedown despite some sloppy stretches of play.
DiVincenzo’s putback off a missed 3 with 15 seconds to go left Villanova with a five-point lead after Collin Gillespie stripped a driving Sacar Anim under the bucket at the other end for a steal with 49 seconds remaining.
Andrew Rowsey led Marquette with 27 points, including a deep 3 from the wing that pulled the Golden Eagles to 83-80 with 1:30 left.
They couldn’t get any closer and repeat last year’s heroics.
Foul trouble plagued Marquette for much of the afternoon, with Big East-leading scorer Markus Howard (13 points) picking up his fourth foul with about 13 minutes left. Villanova went up by three possessions several times in the second half.
The Golden Eagles still managed to stay in the game through the end because of sloppy play or rushed empty possessions by Villanova.
Brunson went to the bench briefly in the second half after hurting his left ankle while falling to the floor in the paint. He scored 15 in the first half, matching his output for the entire game against Providence, and closed a 7-0 run over the final 1:21 by faking defender Jamal Cain and hitting a jumper for a 49-44 lead at the half.
Wildcats coach Jay Wright still wasn’t happy after Marquette shot 56 percent (17 of 30) in the half and went on an 8-0 run to get back into the game after falling behind by 12.
“It’s an actually an embarrassment,” Wright said about the first-half defense.
TIP INS Villanova: The team played without guard Phil Booth for the first time after the junior broke his right hand late in the 89-69 win Tuesday over Providence. Booth, the team’s fourth-leading scorer (11.6 points) is out indefinitely after starting the season’s first 20 games. DiVincenzo replaced Booth in his second start of the season.
Marquette: The 6-foot-11 Froling made his first start of the year at center after the transfer from SMU gained eligibility at midseason. He had 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting. … Rowsey picked up his third foul of the game with 1:21 in the first half. … Howard did not score in the second half, finishing 5 of 18 from the field and 3 of 8 from the 3-point line.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.