Providence College Friars lose to Villanova in Big East Championship game

Vols headed to Dallas as #3 seed, will play Wright State

Butler has lost three of four games.

Providence is looking for its third Big East tournament title; the Friars last championship came in 2014.

In the NCAA men's basketball, Providence Friars (20-12) is set to take on Villanova Wildcats (29-4) for the Big East championship game on Saturday.

A Villanova win would be the Wildcats' fourth-ever Big East tournament championship and their third in four years.

Those who live and die with the program found the inconsistency of this group maddening at times, but they pulled it all together in NY and went on a run that was every bit as thrilling as the 2014 Big East title year.

Cooley ripped his trousers in the back in the second half of the game, and was forced to wear a Gatorade sweat towel around his waist for the rest of the contest. Brunson seems boring in comparison until a glance at Saturday's box score reveals he had 31 points in a championship game so high energy that Providence Coach Ed Cooley split his trousers.

Mikal Bridges added 25 for Villanova.

Then he blew the roof off of the place. PC was clearly flustered by the Wildcats' overall team speed but eventually settled down with Diallo going to work in a 9-0 run that tied it 11-11.

Omari Spellman provided a big boost down low for the Wildcats.

Not that it mattered the way Graham and Newman were knocking down 3-pointers.

Graham capped it with a fadeaway baseline jumper over Carter and an open 3 from the wing, forcing West Virginia coach Bob Huggins to call timeout with his team trailing 73-66 with 3:49 to go. The Friars won the most recent matchup 76-71. Again the Wildcats defense proved key.

All BIG-EAST Honorable mention honoree senior Kyron Cartwright (Compton, Calif.) scored 19 points and dished out six assists.

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The 19-point loss was the biggest of the season for the Bulldogs.

Two Diallo free throws got the Friars back within two, 58-56, with three minutes left.

Brunson hit two free throws to tie the game at 60 with 30 seconds left, giving Providence the opportunity to hold for the last shot.

Unlike the earlier two games, freshman forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree played early rotation minutes absent of any foul-trouble from a starter.

Following Bridges' 3, Villanova's Eric Paschall blocked a Rodney Bullock dunk attempt, sending the Garden into hysterics.

Cooley then went to the bench for Drew Edwards and the pesky defender slowed Brunson's onslaught.

Providence and Villanova were both able to advance on Friday night. Now, the question becomes whether the Wildcats can continue this success over the next few weeks when it matters the most during the NCAA tournament.

ST. LOUIS - Collin Sexton and Alabama were making another push in the second half, cutting Kentucky's big lead down to nine with 5:15 remaining. Cartwright's short jumper bounced off the iron and with that overtime beckoned.

Villanova hasn't been in a meat-grinder like this since a 69-68 victory over Seton Hall in Newark, N.J, February 28.

Amid all the intensity, Brunson helped keep things levelheaded.

Then came the back breaker. "We won the tap, throw it up and he hits a 3". They missed it and Villanova never trailed in the overtime period.

Who Public Bettors Like: Providence. After getting the bounces against Creighton and Xavier, this time the Friars' luck ran out.

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