Wright, Villanova hope to rebound against Providence
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Jay Wright's mantra at Villanova always is "next game," and maybe that's a good thing for the Wildcats, to put another gruesome loss against Creighton in the rearview mirror.
The Cats take on Providence on Tuesday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center in their third consecutive road game. It comes two days after a 101-80 pounding at the hands of the Bluejays, who rose to 11th in the latest AP Top 25 on Monday while the Wildcats slipped from sixth to ninth.
While it's doubtful, there might be a part of Wright that wants to think back and try to find something – anything – that could have stopped the Bluejays in their two demolitions of the Wildcats (22-3, 10-2 Big East), including a 96-68 thumping last month at the Wells Fargo Center.
In those contests, Creighton shot 60.4 percent from the field and 60 percent from the three-point arc. The Bluejays killed Villanova in the first game with 21 three-pointers, and while the Wildcats defended their opponent's long-range shooters better Sunday but Creighton drove past them repeatedly, sinking 18 layups on its 34 field goals.
And, by the way, national player of the year favorite Doug McDermott scored 39 points on every kind of shot you could imagine.
"We've got to learn from this," Wright said after the game. "We've got to get better and then we've got to put it behind us and we've got to prepare for Providence, whose playing good basketball. They're a good team."
The Villanova offense needs to flow better than it did Sunday. JayVaughn Pinkston had one shot and zero points in the first half. Darrun Hilliard was hampered by three fouls that he picked up in a 54-second span late in the first half and scored just nine points, five fewer than his average.
Providence (17-9, 7-6), which is 12-2 at home, had lost four of five before its 84-61 win Sunday over DePaul. The Friars boast the conference's consensus second-best player, behind McDermott, in senior guard Bryce Cotton.
Cotton averages 21.2 points, second to McDermott, and leads the league in assists (5.8) and minutes played (39.5). In conference games, those numbers are 23.0, 6.0 and 41.3, respectively.
The Wildcats have lost their last two to the Friars at the building the locals call "The Dunk," including last year's 69-66 loss in which the visitors were called for 32 personal fouls and committed 25 turnovers.