Marquette Wire

FLOOR SLAPS: Villanova does just enough down stretch to squeak out a victory

Marquette+scored+80-plus+points+against+Villanova+Sunday+for+the+third+time+in+two+seasons.
Marquette scored 80-plus points against Villanova Sunday for the third time in two seasons.

Marquette scored 80-plus points against Villanova Sunday for the third time in two seasons.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Marquette scored 80-plus points against Villanova Sunday for the third time in two seasons.

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No. 1 Villanova did enough when it mattered most to eek out an 85-82 victory against Marquette at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Sunday. Here are the floor slaps of the game:

HONORS EVEN

This game was a back-and-forth battle between a hungry Marquette team searching for a signature victory and a remarkably well-balanced Wildcat team who did enough to escape an upset for the second straight season.

The Golden Eagles (13-8, 4-5 in BIG EAST) shot 50.8 percent for the game while Villanova (20-1, 7-1 in BIG EAST) shot 48.3 percent.

While the Wildcats out-rebounded Marquette 33-30, the most important rebound went Villanova’s way. With 15 seconds remaining in the game, Jalen Brunson missed a 3-pointer, but Mikal Bridges was there to out-muscle Sam Hauser and found Donte Divencenzo for the score, which made it 85-80.

Marquette hit 11 3-pointers, while Villanova hit eight. Marquette had 12 turnovers compared to Villanova’s 11. There were six lead changes as well.

“Our guys gave a winning effort, even though we didn’t win,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “That’s a positive thing that we need to build off of, and that’s something that didn’t happen in the game before.”

BRUNSON TAKES MU DEFENSE TO RACK, AND LINE

Villanova’s junior point guard Jalen Brunson who helped stave off the Golden Eagles, scoring 31 points on 10-for-21 shooting. He also hit 10 of 11 free throws and had five rebounds, one assist and one steal.

“He’s a terrific player, and he just lived at the (free throw) line,” Wojo said. “He’s a terrific player, we have to figure out how to play without fouling and we have to get our guards fouled on something other than a shot-fake 3-point shot.”

The Lincolnshire, Illinois, native took advantage of what the defense was giving him. “I was just trying to make the right play at the right time,” Brunson said. “I wasn’t really trying to predetermine anything and I was just playing how the defense was playing me.”

This included making plays off Marquette’s screen defense. “I just saw that they were switching and I knew I was able to get by them and make plays for myself and my teammates,” Brunson said.

ANIM, FROLING MAKE MOST OF MINUTES

Harry Froling and Sacar Anim made for a dangerous duo on Sunday, as the two sophomores combined for 25 points.

Center Harry Froling made the most of his first-ever collegiate start, as he went a perfect 5 for 5 from the floor and finished with 11 points. Meanwhile, Sacar Anim’s constant cuts to the basket for easy layups kept the Golden Eagles in the game late. Anim finished with 14 points.

However, for all of their offensive prowess, the two combined for just five of Marquette’s 30 rebounds.

UP NEXT

Marquette will square off against Butler Wednesday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center for a crucial game in its BIG EAST schedule. Tipoff is at 8:00 p.m. Central time.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Per ESPN Stats and Information, Marquette scored 80-plus points for the third time against the Wildcats in two seasons. All other schools have combined to score 80-plus points against Villanova twice in the same span.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

“(The Wildcats) were really ready to play,” Wojo said. “And when they are really ready to play, they’re as good as any team in the United States.”

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