PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Marshon Brooks scored 20 points and Providence upset a ranked team for the second time in five days with an 83-68 win over No. 8 Villanova on Wednesday night.
The Friars had gone 51 weeks and 17 games without a Big East victory before beating No. 19 Louisville 72-67 on Saturday but now have won two straight conference games. On Wednesday, they never trailed as the Wildcats couldn't mount a serious comeback.
Providence (13-8, 2-6 Big East) led 34-25 at halftime and stretched the margin to as much as 18 points on a 3-pointer by Bryce Cotton that made the score 74-56 with 2:50 left.
Villanova (17-3, 5-2) was led by Maalik Wayns with 18 points and Antonio Pena with 17.
The Wildcats were coming off an 83-72 upset at No. 3 Syracuse on Saturday night and had beaten the Friars in their last eight meetings since a loss on Feb. 11, 2004. But Villanova's top two scorers, Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes, only had seven points each and the team shot a season-low 32.5 percent from the field. Its three losses have come in its worst shooting games.
The Friars weren't much better, hitting only 37.3 percent of their shots. But they made 8 of 26 shots from 3-point range, while the Wildcats missed their first seven and finished at 4 of 22.
Against Syracuse on Saturday, Villanova had hit 50 percent of its shots while Wayns and Fisher made 6 of 7 shots from behind the arc in the first half. On Wednesday, Wayns was 2 for 4 on 3-pointers, but Fisher missed all four of his attempts and Stokes went 1 for 9.
Providence charged into a 6-0 lead on 3-pointers by Gerard Coleman and Vincent Council, who each scored 16 points. It was 8-4 before Villanova tied it 8-all when Pena converted offensive rebounds.
But when Duke Mondy sank a 3-pointer just 5:52 into the game, Providence had the lead for good, 11-8. An eight-point run capped by Council's basket made it 24-14 with 6:16 left in the half.
Providence opened the second half with five straight points for a 39-25 lead. Villanova cut that to seven on Pena's jumper with 10:07 to play that made it 50-43. But two free throws by Cotton and a layup by Kadeem Batts built the lead up to 54-43. Stokes, who had missed his first 11 shots, finally connected when he made a 3-pointer with 8:54 remaining that made it 54-46. But that was much too little, much too late as the Wildcats continued to miss shots and failed to make key stops.
Until Saturday, the Friars had not won a Big East game since beating then-No. 19 Connecticut on Jan. 27 last year, also their last victory over a team ranked in The Associated Press Top 25.