By Sam Bush
If you don’t think the Big East is a competitive conference, especially on the road, check out last night’s Villanova-Marquette game in Milwaukee!
Marquette’s Katin Reinhardt hit two crucial free throws with 11.6 seconds left of a tie game against No. 1 Villanova.
The Wildcats missed two chances to tie on a layup and a putback at the buzzer, and the Golden Eagles (14-6, 5-3 Big East) roared back from a 17-point deficit for a 74-72 victory over the Wildcats (19-2, 7-2).
It was the second time the Golden Eagles beat a No. 1-ranked team. Marquette topped Kentucky in the 2003 NCAA tournament.
The Golden Eagles’ fans partied at the Bradley Center in a court-storming frenzy, celebrating as if coach Al McGuire was still pacing the Marquette sideline.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Reinhardt said. “You dream of these types of moments.’
The senior guard transferred to Marquette following stints with NCAA tournament squads at UNLV and Southern California. He has been through these kinds of edge-of-your-seat moments.
Reinhardt finished with 19 points on Tuesday, going 4-of-7 from 3-point territory and 5-of-6 from the foul line. But he was upset about that one previous missed free throw as he stepped to the line with 11 seconds left.
“Every time I go to the free throw line, I have the same routine. One, two, three — three dribbles I have. Breathe in, breathe out and let it fly,” he recounted.
Marquette beat its second straight top-10 opponent, after having defeated then-No. 7 Creighton 102-94 last week.
Villanova, which had been ranked No. 1 for a total of seven weeks this season, had two chances to tie on the final possession. Jalen Brunson missed a layup, and Darryl Reynolds couldn’t convert on an offensive rebound.
“You’ve got to put a whole 40 minutes together. Sometimes you get on the road and a team gets hot,” Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. “If you don’t finish the 40 minutes, they’ll get you.”
Reinhardt’s 3 from the right wing tied the game at 72 with 1:04 left.
Mikal Bridges had a season-high 20 points for Villanova.