Villanova, which has defeated No. 19 Georgetown, No. 20 Louisiana State and No. 8 Syracuse this season, almost beat No. 6 Arizona Saturday at Villanova, Pa., but the the Wildcats from the Pacific 10 Conference overcame some distracting circumstances to win, 72-64.
“We had a highly emotional game on Thursday night (a 74-71 conference victory over Arizona State) and then had trouble getting to Philadelphia,” Coach Lute Olson said. “We didn’t arrive until 5 p.m. Friday.
“Then we have a very tough, physical game with Villanova. I’m really pleased with the way we responded.”
Chris Mills, who led all scorers with 26 points, didn’t mind the physical aspect at all.
“It was a lot of fun,” the 6-foot-6 sophomore said. “There was a lot of pushing and shoving, but I don’t mind that. I think sometimes, though, the home team gets a little edge there.
“Villanova doesn’t have a lot of height, but they’re a real good team.”
Arizona’s starting front line is 6-11 Brian Williams, 6-10 Sean Rooks and Mills. The Wildcats also use 7-foot Ed Stokes and 6-8 Wayne Womack.
Villanova (9-7) had a 36-32 lead with 16:42 to play, but Arizona (15-2) went on a 14-3 run, taking a 46-39 lead with 11:45 left. After Villanova pulled to within 50-49, Arizona moved out again, taking a 57-52 lead on a basket by Matt Muehlebach with five minutes left.
Oregon State 70, Washington 60--The Beavers, who lost their first Pac-10 game Thursday night to Washington State, 99-77, at Pullman, Wash., almost lost to the Huskies at Seattle.
Washington led by as many as 11 points in the second half and looked to be in control after Brent Merritt’s three-point basket gave the Huskies a 49-40 lead with 12:35 left.
But that’s when Kevin Harris, Chad Scott, Teo Alibegovic and Charles McKinney made consecutive three-point shots to give Oregon State (10-5 overall, 4-1 in the Pac-10) the lead for good at 52-49.
Washington (10-5, 2-4) trailed, 62-58, with less than four minutes left, but the Beavers made their last eight free-throw attempts to clinch the victory.
Alibegovic scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. Doug Meekins led Washington with 20 points.
Washington State 82, Oregon 79--Ken Critton’s dunk with 57 seconds remaining at Pullman lifted the Cougars to victory.
Terrell Brandon of the Ducks (7-8, 2-3) scored a game-high 26 points, but missed a last-second three-point attempt that would have sent the game into overtime.
Neil Derrick led Washington State (12-4, 4-2) with 22 points. Richard Lucas had 20 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for Oregon.