Philadelphia: As we close the month of February, the drama and the buzz of March Madness is heightening. On Saturday afternoon, the Villanova Wildcats took on the Providence Friars at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia. Villanova came into the game at 22-6 (11-4 in Big East) while Providence made their trip to Philly at 16-12 (9-6 in Big East)
Over the last couple of years , Villanova & Providence have played some very tight battles, including the Big East Title game in 2017 which Villanova won in OT
Villaova defeated Providence back on January 25.
Coming into the game, one of the questions was if Villanova’s Colin Gillespie was going to play with a thigh bruise. He tested it during pre-game warmups, and was good to go for the contest.
How the game went:
In the first half, Providence jumped all over the Wildcats. The crowd at the Wells Fargo Center just did not approve of what they were seeing.
The Wildcats would eventually wake up, and took their first lead of game on a 3 pointer by Saddiq Bey, which made it 15-14.
After taking the lead, the Wildcats looked to make things difficult for the Friars. The answer was a resounding no, as Providence answered the run and made things hard for the Wildcats as they took a 30-18 lead at halftime.
During the second half both teams were ice cold, but the Friars had three separate leads of 11, the last one being 40-29 with 11:55 left. Villanova just looked lost out there, and their three pointers were not falling. Late in the second half, the Wildcats would get the lead down to 2 with this dunk by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl with 1:56 left.
Would the crowd of 15,516 see an amazing comeback? The answer was no, as Providence went on a run to ice the game as the Friars came into Philly and stunned number 12 Villanova 58-54.
The story of the game was the three point shooting, as Villanova went 5-30 for 16%, while Providence was 5-13 for 38%.
Luwane Pipkins lead Providence with 27 points while Colin Gillespie put in 13 for Villanova.
What is next:
Villanova will attempt to get back to their winning ways as they head on the road for a battle with Seton Hall on March 4. Providence goes home for a battle with Xavier on March 4.
Reaction from Villanova Coach Jay Wright & Providence coach Ed Cooley