No. 17 Villanova beats Providence 94-91
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP)—Villanova simply did what everyone else has been doing against Providence lately.
Scottie Reynolds scored 31 points and Dwayne Anderson had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the 17th-ranked Wildcats to their fourth straight victory, 94-91 over the Friars on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats made eight 3-pointers in the first half, building a 15-point lead that they pushed to 20 early in the second before they started to relax.
“We did a great job of getting the lead,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “Once we got the lead there were a lot of crazy things.”
Reggie Redding had 12 points, 11 rebounds and a key blocked shot for the Wildcats (18-4, 6-3 Big East).
Sharaud Curry led the Friars (14-8, 6-4) with 25 points, while Weyinmi Efejuku had 23 and Jeff Xavier 21.
It was the fourth straight game that Providence has allowed 90-plus points. The Friars tied a school record by hitting 17 3-pointers, 11 coming in the second half as they climbed back into the game late.
“They spread the ball around, got us extended and knocked down a lot of 3s (in the first half),” Efejuku said. “We weren’t making our shots and we regrouped and started to make our shots.”
The Wildcats, who led 49-34 at halftime, opened the second half on a 10-5 run to push their lead to 59-39 on Redding’s basket with 15:35 to play.
“We were just attacking, playing good basketball and trying to get out on the break,” Reynolds said. “We just wanted to let our guys make good basketball plays.”
The Friars made it 92-91 on Efejuku’s 3 with 2 seconds left, but Redding hit two free throws and Anderson tipped away a last inbounds pass.
Providence lost 94-61 to then-No. 2 Connecticut on Saturday.
“I don’t want to give up 90-plus, but I think if you look at the game the numbers are deceiving,” Friars coach Keno Davis said.
Villanova, which gave up just 56 points a game during the first three games of their winning streak, held the Friars to 31 percent shooting midway into the second half.
But the Friars’ offense got on track late, scoring 15 of the next 19 points to slice it to 73-65 on Efejuku’s 3-pointer with 7:01 left.
The Friars could have made it a three-point game in the closing minute, but Redding blocked Jonathan Kale’s shot in the lane and fed Reynolds for a breakaway layup.
The Friars, who entered with the poorest defense in the conference, had allowed an average of 93.7 points in its last three games, but they won two of them—against Seton Hall on Jan. 22 and then-No. 15 Syracuse at home last Wednesday.
Early in the game, Providence’s poor defense showed as the Wildcats had a number of uncontested shots and closed the half on a 12-6 run for a 49-34 lead.
That changed when PC started to concentrate on Villanova’s hot shooters. But it came too late.
“We got out on shooters in the second half. They didn’t have the looks they did in the first half,” Davis said.