No. 12 Villanova fends off upset-minded Bucknell
Dylan Ennis scored 16 points, including four free throws in the final 30 seconds, and No. 12 Villanova survived a serious upset scare with a 72-65 win over Bucknell on Thursday night in the Progressive Legends Classic.
Ryan Arcidiacono added 15 points and Daniel Ochefu had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Villanova (3-0). Darrun Hilliard scored 10 points and forced two big turnovers in the final minute to help the Wildcats remain perfect on the season.
Chris Hass poured in a game-high 32 points to lead Bucknell (1-2), which trailed by as many as 14 before rallying to take the lead late in the game.
Hass' biggest basket came with 1:45 left as the lanky junior guard from Michigan drained a tough 3-pointer to put the Bison ahead, 65-63, and stun the sellout crowd at the Pavilion.
But the Bison didn't score again as the Wildcats clamped down on the defensive end and made some clutch free throws. Arcidiacono hit two foul shots to tie the game and Ochefu made 1 of 2 from the line with just under a minute left to put the Wildcats in front for good at 66-65.
After Hilliard forced a turnover, Ennis put the Wildcats up three with a pair of foul shots. Hilliard followed that with a steal and dunk in transition to ice the game.
Villanova shot just 39 percent from the field and 23 percent from 3-point range but relied on its staunch defense, forcing the Bison into 21 turnovers.
Trailing by seven at halftime, Bucknell came out firing in the second half. Hass and John Azzinaro hit 3-pointers followed by a free throw from D.J. MacLeay that tied the game at 39-39 with 14:40 remaining.
A quick 3-pointer from Hilliard on the other end put Villanova back on top and the Wildcats extended their lead to six on a Josh Hart 3 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
But the Bison refused to wilt, pulling within two with 7:54 left after Hass buried two more jumpers on consecutive possessions. They tied the game at 55-55 on a Nana Foulland turnaround with 5:20 left.
After tying the game twice more, the Bison took their first lead of the game at 62-61 with 3:33 to go after Hass was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws.
Bucknell missed its first six shots and committed four turnovers before Azzinaro opened the scoring for the Bison with a layup five minutes into the game.
By then, the Wildcats held a 9-2 lead, which they doubled to 30-16 with three minutes left in the first half.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Hass and J.C. Show right before halftime -- Bucknell's first two 3s of the game -- got the Bison within 33-26 heading into the break.
Villanova: Head coach Jay Wright was a co-captain of Bucknell's 1982-83 squad, leading the team in scoring at 11.9 points per game. He's now 7-0 against his alma mater as a head coach. ... The Wildcats ran their home winning streak to 17 games, dating to 2013, and their regular-season sellout streak to 149, dating to 2001.
Bucknell: Thursday's game marked the Bison's second straight against a ranked opponent. Bucknell lost to No. 24 Michigan on Monday, 77-53. ... The Bison's last win over Villanova came in 1945 and their last win over a ranked team was in 2005 vs. Syracuse.