No. 12 Villanova tops Marquette 75-70
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Mouphtaou Yarou scored 18 points, Corey Fisher had 17 and No. 12 Villanova snapped a two-game losing streak in a 75-70 win over Marquette on Wednesday night.
Antonio Pena had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, who had lost three of four and fell out of the Top 10.
That kind of slump is bound to happen in the rugged Big East and even a return to their on-campus home didn't make the game any easier for the Wildcats (18-4, 6-3).
The Wildcats won their 46th straight game at the Pavilion after losses at UConn, Providence and at the 76ers' arena to Georgetown. Their win during that four-game stretch came at Syracuse.
They were never comfortable in this one against a Golden Eagles team (14-9, 5-5) going for the upset.
Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odom each scored 15 points for Marquette.
The Wildcats led by as many as 14 in the second half until a cold Marquette team ditched the 3-pointers and hit the paint for easy buckets.
The Golden Eagles whittled the lead to three on a pair of Jae Crowder free throws. Chris Otule's putback kept it a three-point game and he followed with a big block on 'Nova's possession. The Wildcats retained the ball and a fearless Fisher drove at the 6-foot-11 Otule, who had four fouls, and scored the layup to make it 64-59.
Yarou answered a Marquette bucket with a bucket that fouled out Crowder, who had nine points. Former NBA coach Larry Brown clapped after Yarou's free throw and yelled "Get a stop!" as the Wildcats shifted into defense.
The Wildcats wouldn't get a stop on that possession as the Golden Eagles kept attacking the basket. The Golden Eagles were abysmal on 3-pointers — missing 13 of 16 attempts — after shooting 46 percent from the arc in their win over Syracuse.
Butler gave Marquette one last sliver of hope when he nailed one and it was a 72-68 game with 20.1 seconds left.
The Golden Eagles failed to force turnovers off the fullcourt press and had to foul, allowing the Wildcats to clinch from the free-throw line.
The Wildcats went 29 of 33 from the free-throw line and Marquette was only 13 of 14.
Yarou and Pena continued to thrive inside for the Wildcats. Long known as a star-guard program under coach Jay Wright, the pair have become the Wildcats' most consistent players this season. Pena even scored his 1,00th career point.
Yarou and Pena combined for 15 rebounds and played all but 15 minutes.
Flyers stars Mike Richards and Claude Giroux, and two of their teammates, sat behind Villanova's bench.