Coach Ripped His Pants During Conference Championship Game

Lynette Rowe
March 12, 2018

The Friars trailed by double digits but came back to take the lead in the second half.

It was just a flash.

Jalen Brunson wound up hitting a pair of free throws with a few seconds left in the game to tie things at 60. Two overtime wins in two days has put that to bed.

Clutch work down the stretch from Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges lifted Villanova to a 76-66 overtime victory over Providence Saturday night in the BIG EAST championship game. Brunson continued his strong play throughout the game, finishing with a team leading 31 points.

So far, this year's conference tournaments have brought players who delight, such as Alabama's eccentric young point guard, Collin Sexton, and players who enrage, such as Duke's controversy magnet, Grayson Allen. The game got so intense, that Friars head coach Ed Cooley's trousers ripped.

Both teams have won a game in the season series.

"When I went to sit down, I tweaked my knee and it felt amusing for a second". He's on another level. And he wasn't letting the heartbreaking defeat, or the wardrobe malfunction, get him down.

However, Villanova would tie the game on two free throws by Brunson with 30 seconds left after a foul was called on Diallo.

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Marquette didn't have enough firepower to keep up with the Big East's No. 2 seed, but Markus Howard (23 points, three assists and five made three-pointers) and Andrew Rowsey (22 points, two assists and five made three-pointers) did what they could in the losing effort. GPAC player of the year Colton Kooima scored a game-high 30 points and Nathan Wedel added a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds for Northwestern. According to oddsmakers from online sports book YouWager, the Wildcats are 13.5-point favorites to knock off the Friars, who opened as 13.5-point underdogs. Bridges picked up the loose ball and buried a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to extend the lead to four.

All BIG-EAST Honorable mention honoree senior Kyron Cartwright (Compton, Calif.) scored 19 points and dished out six assists.

On the Wildcats' next possession, Brunson rolled off a screen and converted a 15-foot jumper, extending the lead to 62-38.

Brunson has prepared for games like these. Two more Providence free throws closed the lead to 65-64 before Bridges picked up a loose ball near the same spot he had made the earlier triple and poured in another 3-pointer to make it 68-64 in favor of the Cats at the 2:08 mark of overtime. "Even going into the NCAA Tournament it's about just staying confident and comfortable and doing what we need to do to win".

"I saw JB driving and I was trying to move off the ball and fill behind him", said Bridges, who was named the victor of the Dave Gavitt Trophy as the Most Outstanding Player in the tournament.

Once again, Providence responded to Villanova's run with one of its own.

"Being in tough games in this environment, this arena, it's not an easy environment", Brunson said. We have to live with it right now, but tomorrow we have to let it go, get back to the drawing board, find out who we draw, pick it up and go back at them.

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