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Villanova Moves Into Big East Semis With Blowout Win Over Marquette

Villanova defeated ninth seeded Marquette 84-49 at Madison Square Garden.

John Minchillo / Associated Press

John Minchillo / Associated Press


On Thursday afternoon, Villanova took its final steps to secure one of the number one seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Their first test at the 2015 Big East Tournament was against a Marquette Golden Eagles team that was coming off of an impressive win on Wednesday against Seton Hall. They were also looking for payback after being swept during the season series against the Wildcats.

Villanova passed the first test, albeit an extremely easy one, as they defeated ninth seeded Marquette 84-49 in front of a pro-Villanova crowd at Madison Square Garden in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament. Josh Hart finished with a game-high 20 points and All-Big East guard Darrun Hilliard added 13 points and eight assists.

The story of the first half was runs as Villanova (30-2) jumped out to the early 18-8 lead after beginning the game shooting 75 percent from the field. After Marquette called a timeout, the Golden Eagles went on an 8-0 run of their own to cut the lead to 18-16 with 11:27 remaining in the half.

The runs continues as Villanova called a timeout to stop the bleeding and went on 17-0 run to stretch their lead to 35-16. The Wildcats held Marquette scoreless for almost seven minutes and forced six turnovers during the Golden Eagle scoreless streak. In all Villanova ended the first half on a 21-5 run with Hart leading the way with 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting, including 4-of-4 shooting from three. Marquette was able to stop the drought and go into the half down 39-21. Matt Carlino, who scored 26 against Seton Hall in first round action on Wednesday, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with just five points on 2-of-11 shooting.

“Obviously, our plan was we wanted to get off to a great start. We anticipated them trying to take Mat (Carlino) out of the game,” said Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski. “I thought they knocked us back with their offense more so than their defense. They came out and shot light out.”

Marquette (13-19) came out of the locker room in the second half and began to chip away at the Villanova lead. They were to get the lead down to as little as 14 points before the hot shooting Wildcats began to pull away midway through the second stanza. Villanova shot 7-of-13 from three which helped the lead balloon to as much as 37. The scoring also balanced out for the Wildcats as the constant ball movement of Villanova created many great looks for multiple players such Daniel Ochefu and Kris Jenkins.

“We’ve done a good job of that all year,” said Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “Our guys are unselfish.”

While the Golden Eagles shot the lights out on Wednesday, they were troubled in this game by missed shots as they only shot 39 percent form the field and 27 percent from three-point range. Derrick Wilson led the Golden Eagles with a team high 11 points.

Villanova now moves on to play on Friday night against Providence who defeated St. John’s 74-57 in the second quarterfinal match-up of the day. Villanova won both meetings with the Friars during the season with their last meeting last month an 18-point win at home.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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