January 28, 2018 / 8:37 PM / a year ago

No. 1 Villanova holds on to top Marquette, 85-82

Jalen Brunson scored 31 points, Donte DiVincenzo added 23 and top-ranked Villanova defeated Marquette 85-82 Sunday afternoon at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Mikal Bridges contributed 16 and Eric Paschall had 10 for the Wildcats, who improved to 20-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big East.

Villanova played without guard Phil Booth, who suffered a fractured bone in his right hand earlier in the week. Booth is out indefinitely.

Andrew Rowsey led Marquette with 29 points while Sacar Anim added 14. Markus Howard contributed 13 and Harry Froling had 11, but the Golden Eagles fell to 13-8 and 4-5 in the conference.

Marquette started strong in the second half and bolted to a 52-51 lead.

That’s when Brunson single-handedly took over, scored 10 straight points and gave the Wildcats a 61-52 advantage with 14:57 remaining. Brunson, a candidate for Big East Player of the Year, continually penetrated to the basket and hit some tough layups in traffic.

Brunson later picked up a steal and threw down a one-handed dunk for a 65-56 lead with 13:12 left.

Brunson, however, limped off the court a few minutes later and was receiving treatment on the bench from the Villanova training staff. Brunson did return a couple of minutes later.

Rowsey knocked down a pair of 3-pointers — his third and fourth of the game — to get the Golden Eagles within 73-70 with 7:17 remaining. Anim followed with a jumper, and the Villanova lead was suddenly 73-72.

Brunson came right back with a basket and DiVincenzo hit a tough, driving three-point play for a 78-72 Villanova advantage with 5:51 left.

Rowsey knocked down a deep 3-pointer and Marquette trailed 83-80 with 1:33 left.

Bridges made a huge defensive play with a steal followed by an offensive rebound, which allowed DiVincenzo to hit a layup for an 85-80 lead with 15.3 seconds remaining.

In a frenetic first half, Villanova ran out to a 49-44 advantage.

An 11-0 run by Marquette — with consecutive 3-pointers by Jamal Cain — resulted in a 42-40 lead.

The Wildcats responded with a 9-2 run to close the half with a five-point lead.

Brunson led all scorers on both teams with 15 points.

Both teams shot 17-of-31 from the field — 55 percent.

—Field Level Media

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