EditorsNote: Fixes spelling of Anim in lede; minor style edits throughout
High-scoring guard Markus Howard poured in 38 points and got just enough help from forward Sacar Anim as No. 10 Marquette withstood a feverish Villanova comeback attempt to beat the No. 14 Wildcats 66-65 in their Big East matchup in Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon.
Anim scored 18 points, 13 in the second half, with five coming in the closing minutes to combat the Wildcats’ rally.
The win allowed the Golden Eagles (20-4, 9-2 Big East) to pull within one game of the Wildcats (19-5, 10-1), who lost for the first time in the Big East this season.
Phil Booth scored 19 points, including seven in the final 4:14, and Eric Paschall added 17 to lead Villanova, which had a chance to win the game but missed a feeble shot as time expired.
Villanova trailed 47-32 after a 3-pointer from Anim with 12:51 left in the game, but the Wildcats went on a 23-6 run, including scoring the last 11 points of the spree, to take a 55-53 lead.
Minutes later, another trey from Anim allowed Marquette to extend its lead to 60-56 with 4:43 to play and set up a frantic finish.
Booth hit a 3-pointer, Anim countered with a jumper and Howard scored on a layup after Villanova missed a trey, and the lead was 64-59.
Booth made consecutive jumpers to cut the deficit to 64-63, and Jermaine Samuels was called for a foul after a missed 3-pointer from Paschall.
Howard hit both free throws to make it 66-63, but Booth hit a jumper to cut it to 66-65, and Villanova had a chance to win it when Howard lost the ball with 14 seconds to play, Saddiq Bey coming out of a scramble with the ball.
After Villanova took a timeout, Booth drove the lane, appeared to get too far under the basket and passed it back out to Samuels, who struggled to get off a shot.
Howard scored 21 points in the first half, hitting 8-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-8 of his 3-pointers, as Marquette led 30-26. He was one of only three Golden Eagles players to score in the half.
Marquette shot 51 percent for the game, including 7-of-18 from 3-point range. Villanova finished at 40.4 percent overall and 9-of-29 on treys.
—Field Level Media