Marquette knocks down No. 1 Villanova
MILWAUKEE -- Three dribbles. One deep breath.
Marquette's Katin Reinhardt went through his typical routine before each of his two crucial free throws with 11.6 seconds left of a tie game against No. 1 Villanova.
Reinhardt hit both. The Wildcats missed two chances to tie on a layup and a putback at the buzzer.
The fun was just beginning for Marquette.
The Golden Eagles (14-6, 5-3 Big East) roared back from a 17-point deficit for a season-defining, 74-72 victory over the Wildcats (19-2, 7-2).
It was the second time Marquette beat a No. 1-ranked team. The Golden Eagles beat Kentucky in the 2003 NCAA Tournament.
Their 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's been through these kinds of edge-of-your-seat moments.
Reinhardt finished with 19 points, going 4 of 7 from 3-point territory and 5 of 6 from the foul line. But he was upset about that one missed free throw when 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," 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.
Villanova: Wright might at least like the tape from the first half after his team built a 15-point lead in spite of getting just 4 minutes from leading scorer Josh Hart because of foul trouble. Kris Jenkins had just two points in the first half. But in-your-face defense helped fuel the 18-2 run -- which included a 14-0 spurt -- to build the big lead that held up until late in the second half.
Marquette: For a while early in the first half, Marquette looked like it would hang with Villanova all night with the way Luke Fischer maneuvering deftly through the lane and Jajuan Johnson hit jumpers. When Andrew Rowsey pulled up for a 3 on the break to get within 19-18, the fans at the Bradley Center let out a deafening roar. The loudest celebration was saved for the end.
It was the defending national champion Wildcats who withered in the end. Marquette finished the game on a 19-4 run. Villanova ended the night on a 2-of-13 stretch from the field.
"We won the game primarily because of our defense," coach Steve Wojciechowski said. He secured the biggest win of his three-year tenure at Marquette.
Hart's acrobatic tip-in of a missed 3 from Brunson tied the game again with 35 seconds left, setting up Reinhardt's game-winning free throws.
For a while Tuesday night, Villanova looked like it was going to pull away in another runaway. The Wildcats built a 15-point halftime lead in spite of subpar nights from Hart and Jenkins, their two leading scorers.
Jenkins had just two points and missed all seven of his shots from the field, including six from 3. Hart had 14 of his 16 points in the second half.
"We've got to just keep battling, no matter how much we get up, we've got to just keep going. We've got to have that heart," Hart said.
The top of the AP Top 25 poll next week should have a makeover after No. 2 Kansas also lost Tuesday, 85-69 to No. 18 West Virginia and No. 4 Kentucky lost to Tennessee 82-80.
Villanova: Takes a brief break from Big East play by hosting No. 12 Virginia at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday.
Marquette: Finishes a two-game homestand with a visit from Providence on Saturday.