No. 11 Villanova Defeats Butler in Big East Opener
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — JayVaughn Pinkston had 22 points and No. 11 Villanova rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 76-73 overtime victory over Butler on Tuesday night in the Big East opener for both teams.
Darrun Hilliard scored 15 points and Josh Hart added 10 for the Wildcats (12-1, 1-0), who lost at No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday.
Butler (10-3, 0-1) was making its debut in its third conference in as many seasons. The Bulldogs left the Horizon League after 2011-12 and played in the Atlantic 10 last season.
Kellen Dunham scored 22 points and freshman Elijah Brown had a season-high 19 for Butler, which dropped to 2-3 at home against Top 25 teams since 2009-10. It was Butler’s first loss in seven games at home this season.
Dunham’s off-balance fadeaway with 21 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 66, and Pinkston’s missed a short jumper at the buzzer to force overtime.
The Wildcats opened overtime with a 3-pointer by Ryan Arcidiacono and two free throws by Hilliard, and held off Butler despite Dunham’s heroics, including a layup with 15 seconds left that cut Villanova’s lead to 74-73. Pinkston hit two free throws with 3 seconds to play for the winning margin.
Khyle Marshall, Butler’s second-leading scorer at 17.0 points per game, picked up two fouls in the first 2 minutes and didn’t play the rest of the first half. Dunham, the top scorer with an 18.1 average, played just 10 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble.
There were 10 lead changes in the first half, with Hilliard hitting two free throws with 5 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 35-34 halftime lead.
Villanova took a 43-34 lead before a layup by Kameron Woods and a 3-pointer by Erik Fromm broke the Wildcats’ run, but Butler could never quite catch up until a 3-pointer by Brown put Butler ahead 64-63 with just over 5 minutes to play.
Pinkston answered with a jumper, and the Wildcats would lead until Dunham’s game-tying shot with 21 seconds to go.
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