Kyron Cartwright hit two go-ahead free throws with 1:32 left in overtime and added a crucial basket with 16 seconds to go and fifth-seeded Providence took a big step toward a fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth with a 72-68 win over fourth-seeded Creighton in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament on Thursday in NY. It looked like they might pull off a second win against a potential NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed in as many days. The Blue Devils missed their first 14 shots from the floor and made 18 turnovers.
The fourth-seeded Wildcats (23-10) advanced to play the victor of the game between No. 13 Tennessee and Arkansas.
On the season, Providence basketball averages 74.0 points, 35.5 rebounds and 13.9 asissts per game. They shot 53.6 percent in the first half, including 6-14 from three and 8-9 from the free throw line.
For Providence, the key could be Kyron Cartwright who helped lead the Friars to an 81-72 upset win over Xavier earlier in the season. Diallo paced Providence with 11 points. Villanova stormed to a 19 point lead after 20 minutes and traded baskets the rest of the way.
Will the Friars have enough left in the tank to produce a similar effort against the most efficient offensive team in the nation?
In response to the Friars' surging momentum, Wright reinserted his go-to lineup, four starters and sophomore guard Dante DiVincenzo in place of Phil Booth.More news: USA offers $5M reward for Pakistan Taliban leader
Cartwright and Diallo were both named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament squad, joinging Villanova's Jalen Brunson, Xavier's Trevon Bluiett and Butler's Kamar Baldwin. "We played well. They're a really good offensive team". I just want them to see that I'm coming at them every play, every play, every play - no matter what the situation is.
The opening half was dominated by a series of runs with Villanova never losing its lead and going into the locker room with a 31-27 lead. The Friars appeared to be fighting fatigue, a product of the two overtime contests they had previously won. The game got so intense, that Friars head coach Ed Cooley's trousers ripped.
By the midpoint of the half the Friars had weathered the second "storm" and gained some momentum.
Creighton took its largest lead as Foster drained a three-pointer to put CU up 33-26 on the first trip of the second half, but Providence rallied and retook the lead at 51-49 on a trey by Isaiah Jackson with 7:19 left. He remained that way as he hit two free throws with 30 seconds left to send the game to overtime, even as one corner of the packed crowd at Madison Square Garden showered him with boos and one spectator shouted: "Not today, Brunson!" It was not to be however, as a Cartwright floater from the left elbow clanked harmlessly up off the rim and fell to the court.
"Obviously it's a one time thing and you can't do it again".
However, Villanova would tie the game on two free throws by Brunson with 30 seconds left after a foul was called on Diallo. Brunson and Bridges carried the Wildcats though a wild game in which momentum swung drastically from the start, when No. 2 seed Villanova got off to a nine-point lead before No. 5 seed Providence (21-13) punched back to tie the score.