Searching for signature wins to pad their NCAA Tournament resume, the Villanova Wildcats slugged out a 60-56 victory over No. 17 Marquette on Saturday. Darrun Hilliard scored 22, including ten points in a four-minute second-half stretch that put the Golden Eagles away. JayVaughn Pinkston scored 11 off the bench and consistently got to the free throw line with touches in the paint.
A sluggish start by both teams led to a 22-22 halftime score, with both teams missing a slew of open looks. But while Villanova picked it up in the second half, Marquette continued to turn the ball over, finishing with 18 giveaways. No Golden Eagle scored more than ten points, with guard Junior Cadougan scoring ten on four of nine shooting.
Hilliard got it done in the second half for the Wildcats, hitting a pair of threes that gave Villanova a ten-point lead, their biggest of the game to that point. Forward Mouphtaou Yarou added ten points and seven rebounds in the winning effort.
The Golden Eagles became the third ranked team that the Wildcats have knocked off, having beaten Syracuse and Louisville in Big East play. 'Nova will have more chances to improve their bubble status, with games against No. 20 Pitt and No. 11 Georgetown to close out the season. Marquette has big home games against No. 8 Syracuse and No. 25 Notre Dame before coasting into the postseason against unranked St. John's and Rutgers.