- Associated Press - Saturday, January 25, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Villanova coach Jay Wright took a pleasant stroll through the corridors of the Bradley Center following a stressful win over Marquette.

Tight games in the Big East are easier to handle with a calming influence like Ryan Arcidiacono handling the ball.

Arcidiacono had 20 points and 11 assists, and coolly guided the fourth-ranked Wildcats in overtime following a frenzied finish to regulation of a 94-85 victory over Marquette on Saturday.

Arcidiacono had six points and two assists in the extra period. He hustled for a loose ball with 37.7 seconds left that allowed Wright to call a timeout and avoid a turnover.

“I felt good all game so I just wanted the ball in my hands,” the sophomore guard said. “If we were going to go down, I wanted it to be on my shoulders.”

Todd Mayo had 18 points - including the last 10 in regulation for Marquette (11-9, 3-4) - to help force overtime at 77-77. A layup by Villanova’s Tony Chennault with 1 second left in regulation was waved off by the officials after Steve Taylor, Jr., drew a charging foul.

But Villanova (17-2, 6-1) took control in overtime.

“Fought really hard to get it to overtime, then once we got into overtime they scored every possession,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. “We did not get a stop in the last five minutes of the game, and worked incredibly hard to get it to that point.”

The win for Villanova at one of the toughest venues in the league helped ease the sting of a humbling 28-point loss at home earlier in the week to Creighton.

Still, Villanova was treated with a dose of Midwest politeness. Not one bad comment from the Marquette fans, and Wright made it a point afterward to point that out.

“Half the people yelled, ‘Good game, Coach,’” Wright said. “This doesn’t happen on the East Coast.”

They had every right to be upset after Marquette’s 20-game winning streak in home conference games was snapped.

Marquette’s last loss at home to a Big East foe was 67-60 to Cincinnati on March 2, 2011. The Golden Eagles had the third-longest such streak in the country entering Saturday behind Gonzaga and Weber State, who were both at 23 games.

“Haven’t lost here in a long time. I thought our guys showed really good resiliency to get it back to overtime,” Williams said.

They just didn’t have an answer for Arcidiacono in the extra period.

James Bell, who finished with 30 points, had two free throws after Arcidiacono chased down the loose ball to make it a three-possession game with 7 seconds left.

Darrun Hilliard had 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting for Villanova.

Davante Gardner had 29 points and 13 rebounds for Marquette.

The Wildcats frustrated Marquette early with jumpers, but Gardner led the Golden Eagles’ push in the paint to stay within a possession or two for much of the second half.

Villanova turned away every run - until the end of regulation. The Wildcats kept it interesting after missing 5 of 7 from the free throw line in a stretch in the final 1:11.

Mayo followed a running jumper with a 3 from the corner to get Marquette within 75-74 with 13.2 seconds left.

Arcidiacono responded with two free throws, but then fouled Mayo on 3-point attempt at the other end with 4.8 seconds left.

Mayo hit all three free throws - the last one tantalizingly bouncing on the rim a couple times before falling through for a 77-77 tie.

It set up Chennault’s contested drive for a potential game-winner, but the officials’ charging call whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

“Arguably the toughest play that’s been made at the Bradley Center in this season was Steve taking the charge,” Williams said.

Wright wasn’t happy, but respected the call.

“I was so happy that it worked, and then I was so crushed when the call was made,” he said. “I know (the official has) got great integrity. I was still mad at him, but I know he has great integrity.”

Overtime had seemed unattainable after JayVaughn Pinkston’s dunk gave Villanova a 68-57 lead with 4:53 to play. The Golden Eagles fought back in playing their third straight overtime game for the first time since 2009-10 before falling short.

Villanova allowed an opponent to shoot at least 50 percent from the field a second straight game, a startling statistic for a team that prided itself on holding teams under that mark for 47 straight games.


Follow Genaro Armas at https://twitter.com/GArmasAP

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