March 9, 2018 / 2:25 AM / 5 months ago

Villanova rolls by Marquette, coach Wright passes milestone

Mikal Bridges had 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Villanova advanced in the Big East tournament with a 94-70 victory over Marquette on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

Jalen Brunson added 21 points, Phil Booth contributed 15 and Eric Paschall had 13 for the Wildcats (28-4), the No. 2 seed in this conference tournament. They shot 57 percent from the field — 33 of 58.

The Wildcats will face third-seeded Butler, who beat Seton Hall 75-74, in the semifinals Friday night.

Markus Howard led seventh-seeded Marquette with 23 points while Andrew Rowsey added 22.

The Golden Eagles fell to 19-13 but still have a solid chance of locking up an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. They lost all three matchups to Villanova this season.

With this win, coach Jay Wright earned his 414th career victory on the Main Line. The milestone win surpassed Alexander Severance, who compiled 413 victories from 1936-61.

With Villanova leading 56-43, Brunson scored a pair of tough baskets on drives. The Wildcats were able to thwart an early Marquette run and run out to a 50-43 advantage.

Villanova then ran off another eight in a row capped by a drive from Booth for a commanding 58-43 lead with 13:47 remaining.

A jumper by Brunson gave the Wildcats a 72-53 advantage with 9:53 left.

On their next possession, Brunson penetrated into the lane and dished a pass to Omari Spellman for a 3-pointer and a 20-point lead, 75-55.

The Wildcats hit on eight of their first 12 shots from beyond the 3-point arc in the second half on their way to the 20-point lead.

Spellman virtually secured the win by hitting his third 3-pointer of the half for an 88-64 lead with 5:06 remaining. Villanova knocked down 17 of its first 21 shots to build that large lead.

It was more than enough to propel Villanova to another win.

Villanova closed the half strong and surged to a 41-34 lead heading into the locker room.

Villanova knocked down seven of its last eight shots of the half.

Bridges led the Wildcats with 16 points and Brunson added nine.

Howard (16) and Rowsey (14) combined for 30 of Marquette’s 34 first half points.

—Field Level Media

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