Virginia-Villanova Preview

The Associated Press

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Top-ranked Villanova suffered a surprising meltdown Tuesday night in a 74-72 loss at Marquette.

The Wildcats let a 13-point lead with six minutes remaining get away as the Golden Eagles closed the game on a 19-4 run for a stunning two-point victory.

Since Monday, Villanova (19-2, 7-2 Big East) has had time to group in preparation for a highly-anticipated matchup against nonconference foe and 12th-ranked Virginia (16-3, 6-2 ACC) on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at the Wells Fargo Center. The game has been announced as a complete sellout.

Mikal Bridges led the Wildcats with 20 points while Jalen Brunson scored 19 points and preseason Player of the Year candidate Josh Hart had 16 in the loss. Kris Jenkins scored just two points and missed all seven of his shots, including going 0 of 6 from beyond the arc.

Villanova shot 6 of 34 from 3-point territory.

"It was a great college basketball game that we came out on the wrong end of," Villanova coach Jay Wright told reporters. "Marquette deserves the credit. We've got to get back to learn from our mistakes and get back to work."

Hart was in foul trouble much of the first half before coming on late. For the Wildcats to be successful, they need to be aggressive getting to the basket.

"That just shows how much we settled and how we didn't get into the lane and make our teammates better," Hart told the Philadelphia Inquirer, referring to the 34 attempts from beyond the arc. "We've got to keep playing, no matter how much we're up. We had to have a killer mindset, we have to have heart for the full 40 minutes."

Virginia won its 16th game Tuesday night with an impressive 71-54 showing at No. 14 Notre Dame. The Cavaliers have won five in a row, which also includes road wins at Boston College and Clemson. They are 8-1 on the road this season.

Virginia defeated Villanova 86-75 at home last season on its way to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight for the first time since 1995.

The Wildcats lost to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament title game and responded to win six straight games in the NCAA Tournament for their second national championship in program history.

"It was obviously difficult to watch them play in the championship, but that's how it works," Virginia guard London Perrantes told the Virginia athletic sports website.

Perrantes had flu-like symptoms before defeating Notre Dame yet wound up with 22 points. As a result, he moved into 44th place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,027 career points.

Guard Marial Shayok has scored at least 10 points in seven of the last eight games while guard Devon Hall achieved double figures in scoring for the seventh time in eight games.

Virginia's next test will be even more challenging against Villanova. It's the third of four home games at the home of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and NHL's Flyers. Villanova previously defeated Marquette and Providence in this arena.

"Every game is a big one for us," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "Now we get a chance to go against a terrific team in a hostile environment. We'll have to show up and play."

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