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Villanova’s Arcidiacono comes through in second OT

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The third time was a charm for Villanova point guard Ryan Arcidiacono on Tuesday night.

After failing to deliver the win on the final shot of both regulation and the first overtime, the sophomore drove to the basket and converted a three-point play with 3.6 seconds left in the second overtime, giving the ninth-ranked Wildcats an 82-79 Big East victory over the Providence Friars.

“We had the ball and called timeout with 16 seconds,” said Arcidiacono, who finished with 21 points and six assists. “Coach (Jay Wright) wanted me to run a play with about eight. I missed the first two and got to the lane in the first OT, and thought I could again.”

Arcidiacono held the ball out of the timeout and drove to the hoop on switching forward Kadeem Batts. He made the basket and fouled Batts out of the game — after Batts scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

The win raised Villanova’s overtime record to 4-0, all away from home — three in true road games and one in the Bahamas. It also allowed Wright’s team to rebound from Sunday’s loss at No. 18 Creighton and avoid its first two-game losing streak of the season.

When it was over, Wright called it “a great college basketball game” and saluted his players’ resiliency — something he said the coach cannot always claim.

“Honestly, I’m not great at resiliency, but these guys are,” Wright said, adding the players got over the tough loss in Nebraska, flew across the country and then delivered in this “up-and-down” game.

“As a team, we just stuck together. We weren’t going to let one game define us,” Arcidiacono said of the Creighton loss. “We just wanted to respond and that’s what we did — we responded so many times tonight. We had the game, they tie it; we had the game, they tie it, and luckily I got the shot at the end.”

The Friars, who did not call a timeout after the winning points, had a chance to force a third OT when forward LaDontae Henton’s open 3-point shot from the corner missed.

The win, their seventh in the last eight and 12th in their last 14, lifted the Wildcats to 23-3 overall and 11-2 in the conference.

Providence, losing for the fourth time in the last five games, fell to 17-10, 7-7 and is on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. The Friars have four games left in the regular season, three on the road but only one against a ranked team — at Creighton in the finale before the Big East Tournament.

“I know there’s a lot of people that are disappointed; I’m the most disappointed guy in this room,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said. “But that’s what the Big East is all about.

“We can put our heads down and feel sorry for ourselves, but at the end of the day we have to pick back up and prepare for Butler on Sunday. There’s still four more opportunities for us to live our dream this year.”

Power forward JayVaughn Pinkston had 20 points and swingman James Bell added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats, who had all five starters in double figures and overcame a nine-point first-half deficit.

Trying to avenge a 30-point loss at Villanova on Jan. 5, the Friars got off to a hot start but suffered through miserable shooting after that. Guard Bryce Cotton, their leading scorer, scored 22 points but was just 6-of-20 from the floor. He also had nine assists and seven rebounds while played two seconds less than the full 50 minutes.

LaDontae Henton, the No. 2 scorer, was scoreless until the final minute of regulation. After hitting what would have been a tying 3-pointer with 29.3 seconds left because a timeout had been called, he then drilled one with 20.1 seconds on the clock to tie it and force OT.

NOTES: The teams’ benches combined for only two points in the game. … Villanova swingman James Bell and Providence G Bryce Cotton joined Creighton F Greg McDermott as the Big East’s three candidates among the 30 still alive in the hunt for the Naismith Trophy as college basketball’s top player. … Villanova has its ninth 20-win season in the last 10 years and

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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