Villanova gets scare before outlasting American
The winngest senior class in Villanova history was about 10 minutes away from an early exit.
Video: Hear from Villanova after escaping against American in Philly for an 80-67 win.
Then they started to play Villanova basketball. It's basic definition, attack the boards, drive to the basket, get to the foul line. With Dwayne Anderson and Dante Cunningham perfecting that strategy, American's upset threat was thwarted.
The seniors each scored 25 points, and Villanova rallied back from a 14-point hole to beat the Eagles 80-67 in the first round of the NCAA tournament Thursday night.
The third-seeded Wildcats (27-7), playing at one of their homes away from campus, needed a late 19-2 run in the East Regional to fend off the Patriot League champions.
"It wasn't that we took them lightly at all," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We expected that. I think we just in the end had bigger, stronger, athletes. But they were probably better prepared and executed a little better."
The 14th-seeded Eagles (24-8) sizzled from 3-point range early and pushed Villanova to the brink of a monumental upset. They just didn't have enough left in their tired legs down the stretch, something the Wildcats exploited in their game-changing spurt that brought the faithful fans alive.
The loss ended the Eagles' 13-game winning streak, the second-longest in the country.