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MBB Big East Tournament: No. 1 Villanova Defeats No. 4 Providence, Advances to Second Straight Tournament Final

Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America

Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America

With 47 seconds left in the game, Villanova’s Josh Hart sunk two free throws to give Villanova a 72-64 lead they would not relinquish. The Wildcats defeated the Providence Friars 76-68 on Friday night at Madison Square Garden in New York to advance to their second straight Big East Tournament Final.

The Wildcats were led by Kris Jenkins who tallied 21 points and Ryan Arcidiacono who had 15 points and seven rebounds. Josh Hart and Daniel Ochefu had 12 and eight points respectively.

The most impressive part of the win was Villanova’s defense as the held Big East Player of the Year Kris Dunn to just nine points shooting 1-of-8 from the field. The Wildcats also contained sophomore First Team All-Big East member Ben Bentil, who went 1-of-5 from the field with only three points before fouling out half way through the second half.

“I am an old school guy,” Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright said. “That was old school Big East basketball. Providence is a really tough team and Bentil and Dunn are really great players. That’s the best we’ve ever done defensively against those two great players.”

Villanova held Providence to 45 percent from the field and the Friars were just 67 percent from the charity stripe.

Wright did speak very highly of Dunn after realizing this will most likely be the last time he coaches against him.

“If you want to get a player to build your team around there is nobody better than Kris Dunn. We have great respect for him.”

So how does it feel heading back to the finals for the second straight year? For the Wildcats they enjoy every moment of it.

“It is something we look at and we love,” Jenkins said. “We’re taking it one game at a time and we’re looking forward to it.”

The Wildcats will put their title on the line against the winner of Seton Hall vs Xavier on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

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