No. 10 Marquette rebounds in OT after potential winner waved off, beats Villanova 71-65 in Big East

Fri, Mar 15, 2024

No. 10 Marquette rebounds in OT after potential winner waved off, beats Villanova 71-65 in Big East

NEW YORK (AP) - Kam Jones scored 18 points, Oso Ighodaro's only basket was a huge one with 18 seconds left in overtime and No. 10 Marquette rebounded from having a potential game-winning buzzer-beater waved off in regulation to beat Villanova 71-65 in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals Thursday night.

The third-seeded and defending champion Golden Eagles (24-8) will face seventh-seeded Providence in the nightcap of Friday night's semifinal doubleheader at Madison Square Garden.

Eric Dixon led sixth-seeded Villanova (18-15) with 19 points, TJ Bamba made three free throws with 1:50 left in the second half to tie it at 58 and neither team scored in regulation again.

Though Marquette came awfully close.

Marquette perfectly executed a set play with 2.3 seconds left in regulation that set up Jones for a flip in from the baseline at the buzzer. It appeared Marquette had won. After a lengthy review, officials said the ball was still on Jones' finger tips when time expired. It was about as close as it could get to being game over for 'Nova.

The Wildcats celebrated, granted a stay, but David Joplin had six of his 14 points in overtime and Ighodaro's jump hook with the shot clock winding down made it 69-65 with 18 seconds left. Marquette's big man finished with a season-low four points on 1-for-5 shooting.

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The Golden Eagles were playing their fourth straight game without injured guard Tyler Kolek (oblique), last season's Big East player of the year.

Marquette lost to UConn and Creighton without Kolek before winning its regular-season finale against Xavier and then escaping against Villanova.

Golden Eagles coach Shaka Smart said Kolek has been practicing, would not definitively rule him out of the Big East Tournament and remained confident he would be back for the NCAA Tournament next week.

A night after needing a 3-pointer in the final seconds from Justin Moore to barely avoid elimination in the first round by last-place DePaul, Villanova found itself in another tight, physical game.

Dixon scored 13 in the first half, including a jumper with 14 seconds left that put Villanova up 29-28 at the break.

Marquette started the second half with an 11-2 run, sparked by Stevie Mitchell's six straight points in the paint. Mitchell finished with 15 points.

The Golden Eagles never could pull away and Villanova made a charge behind Bamba (12 points) and Moore, who swished a long 2 with 7:08 left to give the Wildcats a 51-50 lead.


Marquette split two games with Providence in the regular season.

Villanova, which won five Big East Tournament championships from 2015-22, exited in the quarterfinals for the second straight season under second-year coach Kyle Neptune. The Wildcats are in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for two straight seasons, which has not happened since 2003 and '04.


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RALPH D. RUSSO Russo has been the national college football writer for The Associated Press for two decades. He is a native New Yorker. twitter mailto "
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