The Wildcats would close out the half strong however, regaining the lead with 6 seconds remaining before a pair of free throws by Providence sent the teams to the half knotted at 33.
Bell led the way for the Wildcats in the first half, as he scored 11 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
Josh Fortune notched 13 points for the Friars in the half, but the Villanova defense was able to hold Bryce Cotton to just 4 points in the half, a far cry from his 21.2 points per game average.
Villanova would take a 44-39 lead with 13:44 remaining, their largest of the game to that point. Failing to knock down their free throws, the Wildcats would find themselves unable to shake the pesky Friars.
With Villanova clinging to a 63-60 lead and time winding down, LaDontae Harris hit a game-tying three for the Friars with 24 seconds remaining, forcing the game to overtime.
After one overtime was not enough to decide a winner, the teams headed to a second overtime period, where Providence again hit a crucial game-tying three, this time with 29 seconds left.
Villanova would have an answer however, as Arcidiacono drove the lane for the basket and the foul with 3.6 seconds remaining, giving the Wildcats the 82-79 lead and the win.
Arcidiacono finished with a team-high 21 for the Wildcats in the victory, as he dished out 6 assists as well. Each Villanova starter finished the game in double figures, as JayVaughn Pinkston scored 20, James Bell 17, and Daniel Ochefu and Darrun Hilliard 11 apiece.
After a slow first half, Bryce Cotton heated up, leading all scorers for the game with 22 points. Kadeem Batts would pitch in 21 for the Friars to go along with 11 rebounds, but it would not be enough, as the Wildcats narrowly escaped Rhode Island with a win.
Villanova will return to action on Saturday, when they host St. John's at the Wells Fargo Center.
By: Kyle Babcock
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