After trailing by as much as 15 against Syracuse, the seventh-ranked Wildcats battled back and found themselves down five with just 17 seconds remaining. That’s when Villanova would show great poise and prove they belong in discussions with the top tier teams in the nation.
Over the course the finals 17 seconds, the Wildcats would make a ferocious rally, tying the game with just 4.2 seconds remaining to force overtime, where they would eventually top the Orange 82-77.
While the game finished in a manner that would satisfy Villanova and its fans, it did not start out in such a way.
The Wildcats struggled out of the gate, falling behind by as much as 15 with 1:41 left in the first half.
Wrights’ squad would begin to close the gap in the second half, however, pulling within one with just 1:14 remaining in the game.
The Orange would extend their lead again, however, going up by five with just 17 seconds remaining after Trevor Cooney sank two free throws.
The Wildcats were not ready to call it a game though, as Josh Hart hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to just two with 11 seconds left.
Villanova would come up with a huge steal with six seconds remaining and Ryan Arcidiacono would feed JayVaughn Pinkston under the basket for the game-tying layup with just 4.2 seconds remaining as the Wildcats forced overtime.
“There is always that time where you come very close to calling a timeout or fouling or not,” Wright said. “And that is the area right there, do you risk the foul or not? We practice those timed possessions like that and our guys did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
Darrun Hilliard would hit two free throws 57 seconds into overtime to give Villanova a 71-69 lead, its first of the game.
“That is a really good team and I think that we just have upperclassmen, mainly JayVaughn Pinkston and Darrun Hilliard that carry our team,” Wright said. “We are very fortunate that we have seniors that carry our team and they are what made the difference today.”
The Wildcats would remain in control from there, pulling out an 82-77 win against Syracuse in overtime to improve to 11-0 on the season.
“You would love to come in and beat a team by 15 or 20 points every game but that isn’t always possible,” said Josh Hart. “We need these types of games to get us prepared for conference games and prepared for April.”
By: Kyle Babcock
Follow us on Twitter: @BroadStBeat