On a night where Dominic Cheek and Ty Johnson looked like real Big East performers and JayVaughn Pinkston registered a double-double, it was the same old song and dance for Villanova. In front of another sparse crowd at the Wells Fargo Center, the Wildcats blew yet another big lead, losing 73-70 in overtime.
Villanova got out quick, leading 26-8 with 8:18 remaining in the first half. From there, UConn took control of the game, outscoring the 'Cats 22-4, tying the score 30-30 at halftime. The Huskies started the game shooting 4-of-19 from the field, but Jeremy Lamb helped turn the tide.
Lamb lit Villanova up for a career-high 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting. As a team, Connecticut hit 24 of their final 45 attempts, 53.3 percent. Villanova managed just 39.7 percent shooting from the field. The only thing that kept the Wildcats in the game was their 17-of-19 from the free-throw line.
In their third consecutive game without Maalik Wayns, Villanova struggled to score, but looked better than it has previously.
Junior guard Dominic Cheek played wonderfully for the most part, scoring 23 points. Freshman point guard Ty Johnson added 14 points with six assists and five rebounds. Fellow freshman JayVaughn Pinkston chipped in with 13 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season.
There were good things Villanova did, but the same monsters reared their ugly heads. Turnovers, rushed shots, poor finishing around the rim and giving up easy second-chance buckets.
At the end of regulation, Pinkston mishandled a rebound that led to a Connecticut basket. He mishandled a rebound late in overtime that cost them a possible go-ahead possession.
Villanova is having a truly forgettable season at 11-16 and 4-11 in the Big East, but they have been so close in so many games, and in most of them, they found ways to beat themselves. That is not to say they are better than their record indicates, but with growth and improvement they definitely can be.
Give Villanova credit for coming back from deficits multiple times, and once by as many as seven points. Most teams cave after blowing an 18-point lead, but the Wildcats just keep coming. They fight to the bitter end and there is definitely something to be said for that quality, especially with their leader on the bench.
As much as this team is full of youth and inexperience, at some point moral victories can't be enough. Especially, at home against a team that is playing as poorly as UConn has been. The Wildcats could have used a boost in confidence, as their next game is at Georgetown on Saturday.