Villanova beats Xavier 71-67 in overtime of the Big East Tournament semifinals.
The game was back and forth from the beginning, featuring three lead changes and a tie in the first four and half minutes, after which Villanova led Xavier 7-6.
The Wildcats were able to keep Xavier at bay as Xavier through an extended scoring drought. The Musketeers were able to play strong defense, however, to keep Villanova from getting a big lead. Villanova led 12-10 with 11:59 left in the first half.
Xavier bring the game level twice, at 12-12 and 15-15 on a Ryan Welage lay in and three, before taking a 17-15 lead on a basket by Paul Scruggs with 8:23 left in the first half.
Xavier continued to build a lead, going up 22-17 on a Scruggs three with 6:17 left in the first half to force a Villanova timeout.
Phil Booth brough Villanova back within two points on a deep three, but a 7-0 Xavier run in response put them up 29-20 with 4:22 left in the first half.
Villanova was able to trim the deficit down to six heading into the half, as Xavier led by just six points, 34-28, at the break.
Xavier held onto the lead to open the second half, but Villanova was able to cut it to just three points, 38-35, with 15:33 left in regulation.
Villanova got within two, 43-41, and had a chance to tie, but a miss in transition was followed up by an alley-oop from Scruggs to Zach Hankins put Xavier back up by four, 45-41, with 11:27 left in regulation.
Villanova was able to cut the lead to just two, 45-43, with 10:31 left in the game. Neither team were able to score for more than two minutes after, until Zach Hankins scored in the post with 8:25 to go in regulation to make it 47-43.
Xavier able to maintain their lead over the next few minutes, and led Villanova 55-48 with 3:35 left in regulation. Villanova was able to get back within two, 55-53, during a more than three minute scoring drought by Xavier.
A basket by Hankins with 1:02 remaining put Xavier back up by four points, 57-53. Villanova was able to tie the game, 58-58 and send it to overtime.
Villanova took control early in the overtime period, and despite a fight to the end from Xavier, ended the Musketeers’ hopes of a Big East Tournament title, by a score of 71-67.
Scruggs ended with a career high 28 points and 11 rebounds, to go along with seven assists and two steals. Hankins also reached double-figure scoring with 18 points, along with six rebounds and three blocks.
Tyrique Jones finished with eight points, five rebounds and a steal while Ryan Welage scored seven for Xavier.