NCAA News Wire

Villanova 73, Milwaukee 53

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Guard Darrun Hilliard scored 16 points, and second-seeded Villanova overcame a late-first-half deficit and routed 15th-seeded Milwaukee 73-53 in an NCAA Tournament second-round game Thursday night at First Niagara Center.

Forward JayVaughn Pinkston finished with 13 points for the Wildcats (29-4). Guard James Bell had 12, and guard Josh Hart and forward Kris Jenkins each added 11.

Villanova will play seventh-seeded Connecticut, its former Big East rival, on Saturday. The winner advances to the East Regional semifinals in New York.

Austin Arians led Milwaukee (21-14) with 17 points. He made four of 10 3-point attempts.

Milwaukee built a five-point lead in the first half, but Villanova closed with a 9-0 run to take a 27-23 into halftime. The run reached 14 before Milwaukee forward Kyle Kelm scored.

The Panthers closed within four, but Jenkins scored on a layup and then hit a 3-pointer to put the Wildcats in command at 42-33 with 11:38 left.

The lead went 59-47 on a jumper from Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono with 5:33 remaining. A 3-pointer from Jenkins gave the Wildcats a 68-51 advantage with 3:04 left.

Villanova finished a paltry 4-for-23 from 3-point range. Milwaukee shot 6-for-24 from beyond the arc.

The Wildcats led 6-0 before sophomore forward Matt Tiby hit a 3-pointer for Milwaukee, champions of the Horizon League tournament, at the 15:11 mark. The underdog Panthers then went on a 13-4 run.

The Wildcats regained the lead 16-15 on a dunk from guard James Bell, but back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore forward Austin Arians put Milwaukee ahead by five with 4:51 remaining in the half.

Villanova scored nine unanswered points over the final 4:09, punctuated by forward JayVaughn Pinkston’s dunk with 1:15 left.

Guard Darrun Hilliard led Villanova with 11 first-half points, while Arians paced Milwaukee with nine.

NOTES: Villanova coach Jay Wright has reached four Sweet 16s, two Elite Eights and one Final Four since taking over the program in 2001. His 2010 team barely escaped No. 15 Robert Morris by three points in overtime. His 2011 squad lost its first tournament game 61-57 to George Mason, and the 2013 Wildcats went down 78-71 to North Carolina. … The Wildcats entered the tournament attempting 44.6 percent of their shots from 3-point range. That was the most of any No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the tournament. … Milwaukee had to win four games in seven days to capture the Horizon League tournament and the automatic NCAA berth. The Panthers were picked last in the preseason coaches poll. … Villanova won its first Big East regular-season title since 1982 this season. Of course, the conference was restructured last summer.