Fisher carries ‘Nova vs. last-rank DePaul

Corey Fisher scored a career-high 34 points, nailing the tying 3-pointer near the end of regulation, and No. 15 Villanova beat DePaul 77-75 in overtime Saturday.

Maalik Wayns added 17 as the Wildcats escaped with a tough win over the Big East’s last-place team. DePaul had dropped 12 straight overall and 25 in a row in the conference before beating Providence on Thursday, then giving Villanova all it could handle.

Fisher simply carried the Wildcats from all areas, converting acrobatic drives and burying shots from the perimeter. He hit 5 of 8 3-pointers, none bigger than the one he nailed with six seconds left in regulation that tied the game at 62.

Jeremiah Kelly led DePaul (7-19, 1-13) with 25 points, hitting 7 of 13 3-pointers. Cleveland Melvin scored 16 and Moses Morgan added 15, but the Blue Demons came up just a little short.

Villanova (21-6, 9-5) was leading 70-65 when Kelly hit a 3 with 2:41 remaining. It was 74-70 when DePaul’s Brandon Young connected from long range with 27 seconds left.

Fisher, whose previous high was 28 at Connecticut in January, buried two free throws with 17 seconds left. After Young missed a three, Fisher hit another free throw with 7.2 remaining to make it 77-73.

This probably wasn’t what the Wildcats had in mind after an ugly 60-57 win over Seton Hall that came on the heels of two close losses to Rutgers and Pittsburgh.

It certainly didn’t help that they were again without Corey Stokes. The team’s second-leading scorer missed his third straight game because of a turf toe injury on his left foot.

Even so, this figured to be an easy afternoon for Villanova. Instead, it turned into something else.

Villanova was leading 55-50 with 3:18 left in regulation, but Kelly responded by nailing a wild 3-pointer. Melvin hit 1 of 2 at the foul line before Tony Freeland hit another one to tie it at 55 with 1:17 remaining.

Fisher then raced the other way and got fouled, burying both shots to put Villanova back on top, and he scored again with 39 seconds left after Kelly tied it.

The Blue Demons weren’t finished.

Villanova turned the ball over, and after a timeout, Kelly struck again, nailing a 3-pointer to give DePaul a 60-59 lead. Morgan added two free throws with 12 seconds left, but Fisher forced OT when he buried his 3-pointer.