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Villanova Tops Providence In OT For 2nd Straight Big East Title

Villanova Tops Providence In OT For 2nd Straight Big East Title

Diallo led Providence with 22 points and 10 rebounds and Cartwright scored 19. She had four assists and three steals and hit four free throws down the stretch to seal the win. Bridges scored a game-high 19 points. Still, knocking off the No. 4 and No. 1 seeds in consecutive days is no small task no matter the margin of victory.

The Wildcats earned their sixth straight bid to the NCAA tournament and the 13th in the last 14 seasons.

"We played arguably two No. 1 seeds going into the tournament and we played them both into overtime on back-to-back nights", said Diallo.

"We're looking ahead to the tournament now", Butler head coach LaVall Jordan said. "We have high hopes".

"I tried to overwhelm him with my energy", said Edwards, who played in just eight games a year ago due to injury. We wanted to bring two [defenders] to the ball, that worked for us all game. The ball touched the hands of two Friars and three Wildcats before Eric Paschall grabbed it. Bridges then knocked down a 3-pointer at the top of the key to push Nova ahead 56-52.

The Friars would not score the rest of the way as Villanova would go on to win 76-66.

One major bright spot for the Jays in a losing effort on Thursday was the inspired play of their freshmen - Ty-Shon Alexander, Mitch Ballock, and Jacob Epperson. PC held Villanova to 43.8 percent shooting and only lost the rebound battle 41-36, but the Wildcats capitalized with 13 second-chance points.

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Closing out yet another comeback (they trailed by 12 in the second half) and taking home the Big East title would have been an incredible feat, but if anything, Providence enters the 2018 Tournament with a renewed sense that they can play with anyone in the country. After getting the bounces against Creighton and Xavier, this time the Friars' luck ran out. It also is the first time in Friar history that the squad has played three straight overtime games. Cartwright drained a tough, fallaway jumper to tie it at 58-58.

The last time came when Cartwright hit two free throws with 13 seconds to go to knot the score at 68. Cooley opted not to call a timeout and the Friars ended up with a decent 14-foot look by Cartwright that fell off the rim at the buzzer.

We have reached halftime with Villanova ahead 31-27.

Brunson tied a career high with 31 points while Bridges - named the Dave Gavitt Award victor as Most Outstanding Player - added 25 points.

Kanter finished with 18 points for Xavier, which was 9 of 33 in the second half, including 2 of 11 from long range. For sheer drama, it's the best of the big conference tourneys. He loved it even more when Cartwright came right back and hit another 3 to pulled the Friars within two.

ST. LOUIS - Collin Sexton and Alabama were making another push in the second half, cutting Kentucky's big lead down to nine with 5:15 remaining. But the defense was excellent, holding the Musketeers to just four points themselves.

The Post's Neil Greenberg analyzed NCAA statistics from the past seven March Madness tournaments to give you pointers on how to make a winning bracket.