banner

College Basketball

more stats

Strong second half sends Villanova past Milwaukee

Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Darrun Hilliard had 16 points and Villanova pulled away in the second half Thursday night to beat Milwaukee 73-53 in the NCAA Tournament.

The second-seeded Wildcats outscored the 15th-seeded Panthers 46-30 after the break and advanced in the East Region to face seventh-seeded Connecticut on Saturday.

JayVaughn Pinkston had 13 points and James Bell scored 12 for Villanova (29-4), which won its first regular-season Big East title in eight years but fell to Seton Hall on a buzzer beater in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament last Thursday, snapping a six-game winning streak.

Austin Arians scored 17 points to lead Horizon League champion Milwaukee (21-14), which had a five-game winning streak snapped after an unexpected run through the conference tournament.

"This experience was unbelievable," said Arians. "We were picked to finish last (in the conference) in the preseason poll, and we ended up winning the conference tournament and getting the chance to come here, which was unbelievable.

"Every guy on this team has stepped up at some point during the year. I can't give enough credit to every single person on this team. Everybody had their moments and had a great time doing what we accomplished this year. It was awesome."

Either way the bracket above them shook out, the Wildcats were going to see an old rival in the next round.

Connecticut -- Villanova's former Big East foe -- needed overtime to get rid of Saint Joseph's, which plays an annual rivalry game against the Wildcats in the Philadelphia area's Big 5.

Prior to Thursday's game, Villanova had just one win in three NCAA Tournament appearances since losing to North Carolina in the 2009 Final Four.

The Wildcats turned it on late in the first half. After Milwaukee took a 23-18 lead on Matt Tiby's layup, they scored the last nine points before the break, with Hilliard getting five.

The overall run was 14-0 extending into the second half. Pinkston scored the last five points himself on a three-point play and a layup, giving Villanova a 32-23 lead.

Milwaukee never got closer than four after that and the Wildcats pulled away down the stretch.

"That was not, as everyone here knows, a 20-point game," said Villanova coach Jay Wright. "Milwaukee is a really tough team and hard to play against. Their defense was outstanding.

"I thought our patience and our defense got us through the first half until we could hit some shots and get some stops and get out in transition the second half. But I give them a lot of credit. I was really, really proud of our guys not making shots and still continuing to defend and play hard."

The Panthers made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, when they lost in the second round while making their third appearance in four years.

They have big upsets on their resume, making the Sweet 16 as a No. 12 seed in 2005 under Bruce Pearl after beating Alabama and Boston College. A year later, they knocked off Oklahoma as a No. 11.

Game Notes

Milwaukee represented the Horizon League in the tournament after going just 7-9 in conference play during the regular season. Its run through the league tourney included an upset of top seed Green Bay in the semifinals.

03/21 01:01:56 ET

Other Stories

TV
  • World Series: Kansas City vs. San Francisco

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on FOX50

Scoreboard
Local
Final
GBP 38
CAR 17
Final
CHI 101
CHA 96
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
CHA
 
Final
BRK 90
BOS 95
Final
OKC 94
MIN 112
Final
CHI 101
CHA 96
Final
HOU 90
GSW 83
Final
LAL 98
UTA 91
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
NOP
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
CHA
 
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
MIL
 
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
PHI
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MEM
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
 
Final
LOS 2
MIN 1
Final
NYR 4
SJS 0
Final
WIN 1
CAL 4
Final
ANA 3
STL 0
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
TAM
 
Final
BAL 29
ATL 7
Final
GBP 38
CAR 17
Final
IND 27
CIN 0
Final
JAC 24
CLE 6
Final
CHI 14
MIA 27
Final
BUF 17
MIN 16
Final
DET 24
NOS 23
Final
STL 28
SEA 26
Final
WAS 19
TEN 17
Final
SDC 20
KAN 23
Final
OAK 13
ARI 24
Final
DAL 31
NYG 21
Final
DEN 42
SFX 17
8:30pm Tonight
PIT
HOU