Final Score: No. 3 Villanova 79, No. 15 Purdue 76
LAFAYETTE, Ind, Sporting Alert – Josh Hart scored 24 points to help reigning national champion Villanova beat No. 15 Purdue 79-76 in a NCAA tournament-like contest inside a pack and loud Mackey Arena on Monday night.
Darryl Reynolds had 12 points and eight rebounds and blocked two shots, while Eric Paschall added 11 points off the bench before fouling out for the No. 3 Wildcats (2-0).
Isaac Haas shook off his early foul trouble to collect a game-high 22 points on 8 of 10 shooting, while Caleb Swanigan finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Boilermakers (1-1).
Swanigan scored 13 of his total points in a very busy first half.
Vince Edwards had 10 points and eight assists and four boards for the home side which looked much better than a 15th ranked team on Monday night.
Purdue trailed Villanova 28-18 with 7:11 left in the first half, but used a 10-3 run to help even up the scores at 31-31 with 3:50 remaining in that period.
The Wildcats took the lead again with a few big buckets, but couldn’t shake off the hosts.
P.J. Thompson Makes Half-court 3-Pointer
Villanova looked well set to go into the intermission with a three-point lead before P.J. Thompson hit a spectacular half-court shot that kissed off the glass and went in as time expired to make sure the teams went in locked at 39-39.
The defending NCAA champions started the second half quickly and build another 10-point lead and although Purdue used mini runs to keep the score close, the Big East powerhouses outlasted the Boilermakers.
Villanova shot 48.2 percent on 27 of 56 shooting from the floor.
Purdue hit four of its first five shots from 3-point range, but struggled afterwards and made just 4 for 17 after that to end with 8 for 22 overall from long-range.
Wildcats coach Jay Wright will be pleased with this hard fought road win against a strong Purdue team, as it answered a few questions about where his team is at the moment.
“This is the first time we’ve ever been here and this is a really cool college basketball venue,” stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright.
“Purdue is going to have a great year. That’s a good basketball team. That’s a good road win for us.”
He added: “It’s November – we’ve got to get a lot better. We really had trouble stopping them on the interior.
“You just can’t simulate that kind of size and skill in practice.”
Villanova will be in action next in the Gildan Charleston Classic on Thursday against Western Michigan at 11:30 a.m. live on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.