MILWAUKEE (AP) — Tyler Kolek scored 20 points and No. 14 Marquette rallied down the stretch to beat Villanova 73-64 on Wednesday night and maintain a share of the Big East lead.
Marquette (18-5, 10-2) has won four straight games and nine of 10. The Golden Eagles remain tied for first place in the conference with No. 16 Xavier, which won 85-83 over No. 17 Providence in overtime earlier.
Xavier, Providence and Marquette began the night in a three-way tie for first.
Kam Jones added 18 points for Marquette.
Eric Dixon and Caleb Daniels scored 14 each for Villanova, which committed a season-high 19 turnovers. Brendan Hausen added 12 points.
In a game neither team led by more than six until the final minute, Kolek put Marquette ahead for good at 63-62 by sinking two free throws with 4:32 remaining. Those free throws started a 10-0 spurt that put the game away.
Jones’ basket extended Marquette’s lead to 65-62 with 3:56 left. After Mark Armstrong missed a potential tying 3-pointer for the Wildcats with 1:53 remaining and Justin Moore missed a layup with 1:25 left, Kolek made a driving layup with 41 seconds left.
Villanova (10-12, 4-7) took a 59-55 lead on Hausen’s 3-pointer with 7:42 remaining but didn't make another basket until Daniels dunked with 10 seconds left.
Villanova: The Wildcats showed they're better than their record, particularly with Moore back. Moore played just his second game of the season after tearing his Achilles tendon in last season's NCAA Tournament. But the Wildcats were hamstrung by foul trouble involving three starters: Dixon, Cam Whitmore and Brandon Slater.
Marquette: The latest example of how far the Golden Eagles have come under coach Shaka Smart is that Marquette has swept the regular-season series with Villanova — the Big East's traditional standard bearer — for two straight seasons.
Marquette owns its highest ranking since it was No. 10 in February 2019. This winning streak could have the Golden Eagles flirting with another top-10 spot.
Villanova: At Creighton on Saturday.
Marquette: Hosts Butler on Saturday.
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