- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Providence coach Ed Cooley was more than fine with playing No. 9 Villanova in a third overtime on Tuesday night.

The problem was, LaDontae Henton’s shot came up just short.

Ryan Arcidiacono had a three-point play with 3.6 seconds left in the second OT to lift ninth-ranked Villanova to an 82-79 win over Providence.

“You don’t get tired in a game like that,” Cooley said.

Much to Cooley’s chagrin, an additional five-minute stanza on top of the two hotly contested ones that already taken place was not in the offering.

Villanova had enough left in the tank to hold on for the victory when Henton’s 3 from the left corner bounced off the front of the rim.

“It was a game that whoever had the ball last was probably going to win,” Cooley said after watching the Friars drop their fifth game in the last seven tries.

Arcidiacono led the Wildcats (23-3, 11-2 Big East) with 21 points. JayVaughn Pinkston had 20 and James Bell 17. Villanova moved into a tie for first atop the Big East with Creighton.

Bryce Cotton led the Friars (17-10, 7-7) with 22 points despite shooting just 6 of 20. Kadeem Batts finished with 21 and 11 rebounds, but fouled out on Arcidiacono’s game-winning basket. Josh Fortune added 16 points and Tyler Harris 15.

“We still have four more games to realize our dream for this season,” Cooley said of his team’s chances of making the NCAA tourney next month. “We still find ourselves in a good situation.”

After missing shots at the end of regulation and OT, Arcidiacono drove to the basket, banking in a shot as he was fouled.

Pinkston had a pair of post-up turnarounds in the second overtime, the second gave the Wildcats a 79-76 edge with 46 seconds left, but Cotton made a 3-pointer with 24.1 seconds left.

With Villanova trailing 70-67 in OT, Daniel Ochefu scored on a baseline drive for and was fouled, but missed the free throw. After Batts missed a short jumper, Darrun Hilliard nailed a 3 from the left wing to push the Wildcats ahead 72-70 with 1 minute left.

Cotton followed with a twisting, spinning reverse layup, retying it with 37 seconds left.

Arcidiacono then missed driving shot, sending the game to the second OT.

Villanova beat Providence by 30 points at home on Jan. 5 in the first meeting this season.

Tyler Harris had nailed a 3-pointer to give Providence a 66-63 edge on its first possession of the first possession of OT.

Villanova was clinging to a 63-60 edge in the closing minute when Henton nailed a 3 from the right wing for his first basket - and points - of the game with 20.4 seconds left.

Arcidiacono missed a long 3 in the closing seconds and Providence rushed the ball up with Henton quickly releasing a 10-foot jumper that rolled off the rim just as the buzzer sounded, sending the game to OT.

Villanova, coming off a 19-point loss at Creighton on Sunday, played tight man-to-man defense from the start, but it didn’t matter because Providence’s hot shooting was too much for the Wildcats.

The Friars nailed nine of their initial 13 shots from the floor en route to a 22-13 lead 9 minutes into the first half. Fortune had 10 points in the opening minutes.

The teams were tied at 33 at halftime.

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