Villanova trying to right ship vs. No. 10 Marquette
Villanova will attempt to snap a season-worst three-game losing streak when it hosts No. 10 Marquette on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats had been ranked No. 13 but dropped three straight road games to St. John's, Georgetown and Xavier to fall out of the Top 25.
Villanova still holds a formidable 20-8 record, including 11-4 in the Big East. It will look to avenge a 66-65 loss on Feb. 9 to the Golden Eagles.
The 66-54 loss to Xavier on Sunday included a rough stretch in the second half in which the Wildcats missed nine consecutive shots and went more than nine minutes without scoring.
They'll look to bounce back against Marquette (23-4, 12-2).
"I don't think confidence is the issue," Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. "We're not executing the way we want to, not getting easy baskets off of our defense. It just makes every shot we take monumental. I thought we got some good looks, but we didn't get any second shots in the second half."
Seniors Eric Paschall (17 points) and Phil Booth (14 points) combined to shoot 11 of 28 against the Musketeers. As a team, the Wildcats connected on only 10 of 36 shots from beyond the arc .
Villanova's perimeter defense was uncharacteristically weak in the 12-point defeat.
"They were just really good at breaking us down off the dribble and getting to the rim," Wright said. "We didn't really have an answer for them there. We weren't strong at the rim, and we weren't keeping our defense tight to keep them out of the lane. Once we started doing that, they kicked it out for threes. That was the difference."
The Golden Eagles haven't won consecutive games against Villanova since sweeping the regular season series in 2011-12.
With a win, Marquette can secure the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament and at least a share of the regular-season title.
The Golden Eagles won at Providence 76-58 on Saturday. Sam Hauser led the way with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Sacar Anim also had 18 points. Joey Hauser scored 15 points, while leading scorer Markus Howard had 14 but shot just 2 of 12 from the field.
Sam Hauser picked up his fifth double-double of the season.
Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said that he was especially impressed with Anim's performance.
"You have to have guys who can make plays because you're not going to be able to run a lot of plays against them because of the defense," Wojciechowski told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "And I thought Sacar's attack mentality was huge for our team. His ability to drive the ball to make plays for himself and make plays for others really jump-started our team."
The balanced Golden Eagles proved once again that they can win without a huge scoring output from Howard. Though Howard missed 10 of his 12 shots, he did convert all eight of his free throws. The result was still an 18-point win.
"We have a number of guys that are capable of playing really well," Wojciechowski said. "We have a group of kids that have bought into their role and have maintained from very early in the season that the mission is the most important thing."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 26, 2019