By:Amir Chambers:|4.0 Sports Media
Madison Square Garden-The Big East Tournament Championship at the Garden between Providence and Villanova was a sellout. With capacity crowds in three of the five tournament sessions, the Big East enjoyed its highest tournament attendance figures in its five years of the current 10-team alignment.
Last year, the semifinals and championship game were sellouts and the average attendance for all sessions was 17,556.
For the fourth time in Big East Tournament history there were three overtime games in the same year. There were also three overtime games in 1998, 2011, and 2013.
Villanova at the “World Famous Arena” defeated Providence 76-66 in overtime. It’s the Cats’4th title in nine all-time trips to the Big East Tournament game and third championship in four years. Nova improves to 9-1 all-time vs. Providence in the Big East Championship. It was their first meeting in the championship game.
The Friars shot 42.3% (11-26) from the floor and 11.1% (1-9) beyond the arc. Alpha Diallo had a big first half establishing himself on the blocks early with the help of teammate Rodney Bullock. Diallo finished the half with 11 points, 6 rebounds and a assist. Bullock and Diallo kept Providence close going into the break, down by 4 31-27.
“What a incredible college basketball game -atmosphere at the Garden, we just feel so lucky to be part of it. Congratulations on an incredible season. And just what a tough team, man Either team could have won that obviously overtime game. We just, hey, we had a great player pick a up a loose ball and shoot a 3. I’m proud of our leadership.” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said.
Providence falls to 2-1 in the big Big East Championship game, previously winning the title in 1994 and 2014. Also the Friars is the first team in Big East Tournament history to play in overtime in three straight games.
With 12:42 the Friars made 11-0 run at the Cats getting to tie it at 51 and tied again at 60 with thirty-seconds left in regulation. A missed jumper Kyron Cartwright that would of won the game for the Friars extended the contest to OT.
With 1:17 in OT raced to 6-0 run and put the Friars on their heels and Providence couldn’t recover from Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges on the perimeter. The Friars’ missed threes and easy bunnies hurt them in OT. But Providence pushed the Cats to their limits.
“We had to play our game. Their length was a big problem for us, so we had to start making shots from the perimeter. When MB and I started to hit shots on the perimeter, then we were able to work the post a little bit. But tonight was a team effort and it is a great win for us, great win for Villanova nation.” Villanova Jalen Brunson said.