Marquette stuns No. 1 Villanova on home court

It’s time to start saving money for NCAA Tournament tickets.

For the second time in one week, the Marquette Golden Eagles downed a top-10 team, this time earning the program’s biggest and most dramatic upset in years. Marquette defeated No. 1 Villanova, 74-72, backed by clutch performances down the stretch from graduate student Katin Reinhardt and backup guard Duane Wilson.

Down five with just over two minutes remaining, Steve Wojciechowski turned to Reinhardt, who hit a fadeaway midrange shot. He then followed that up with a 3-pointer on the following offensive possession to tie the game at 70.

Villanova’s 3-point shooting failed the Wildcats the entire game, and that didn’t change in crunch time. Josh Hart’s attempt on the ensuing possession bounced to Duane Wilson, who was fouled by Jalen Brunson as he came down with the ball. He made both his free throws, giving Marquette a two-point lead with 46 seconds remaining.

Brunson went for another three, but that didn’t go down either. Luckily for Villanova, Hart was there for an offensive rebound and put in the layup.

Reinhardt’s heroics continued, as a smart drive forced Villanova into a foul. The 92 percent free throw shooter hit both shots from the charity stripe. Marquette was 10 seconds away from its first regular season victory over a No. 1 opponent in program history.

Brunson went for a layup from the side of the basket with four seconds remaining, but the shot went up in front of the cylinder. A tip by Villanova led to the ball rolling across the top of the basket, but it didn’t go down and instead landed in Sam Hauser’s lap.

Game over, and court stormed.

“You dream of these happy moments,” Reinhardt said. “Beating them on your home floor and having these fans just rush the court and being a part of that is amazing. I can’t even put words to that.”

Reinhardt, who struggled early in the season while he worked through an injury, has now had his two biggest performances in the last two games. He scored 21 points in Marquette’s victory against No. 7 Creighton on Saturday and 19 tonight, including 18 in the second half.

“Even when he was struggling I knew the kid could really play,” Wojciechowski said. “Its not just the last two games. In BIG EAST play he’s been a big time player. … In this game he played anywhere from the point guard to the power forward. When you have somebody who can do that it gives you an advantage.”

Marquette was down 15 at half and as much as 17 in the second half, but the tide changed as Marquette’s zone forced Villanova into long shots. The Wildcats went 6 for 34 from long range in the game. Kris Jenkins, Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo combined for 0 for 17 on 3-point attempts.

“We won the game primarily because of our defense,” Wojciechowski said.

Marquette’s comeback was kickstarted by a Wilson three-pointer with 5:14 remaining. The Golden Eagles went on a 10-0 run to make it a one-possession game, setting up the shot for Reinhardt.

The win is Marquette’s first over a No. 1 team since defeating Kentucky in 2003, and snapped a nine-game losing streak to Villanova.

Marquette’s toughest stretch is over, and the Golden Eagles pulled two victories out of three in its stretch against three top-15 teams. The Golden Eagles will host Providence (13-8) Saturday.

“We have to build on it,” he said. “Like I told our guys in the locker room, this is not our destination. This may be one really special stop on our journey, but this can’t be our destination.”