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3:30 PM PT4:30 PM MT5:30 PM CT6:30 PM ET11:30 PM GMT7:30 PM 北京时间4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST, Feb 13, 2019
Finneran Pavilion, Villanova, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 6,501

No. 13 Villanova shakes off loss, eyes sweep of Providence

(AP Photo/Darren Hauck)

Coming off its first Big East Conference defeat of the season, No. 13 Villanova still is on an upward trend heading into its second matchup with Providence on Wednesday.

The Wildcats (19-5, 10-1) were edged 66-65 at No. 10 Marquette on Saturday in a marquee matchup that did not disappoint. Villanova got 19 points from Phil Booth and 17 more from Eric Paschall.

But like everybody else in Big East play this season, Villanova was burned by 38 points from Markus Howard, the conference's leading scorer.

"You lose a game like that, you look at a lot of the little things you could have done better," Villanova head coach Jay Wright said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "But that's what it is. You've got to learn from it. But I'm proud of our guys. I'm proud of Eric and Phil's leadership and the way the team stuck together. We weren't making shots, and we didn't let it affect our defense."

The Wildcats do not figure to see as big of an individual scoring threat on Wednesday. Friars top scorer Alpha Diallo (17 points per game) pours in about eight points per game fewer than Howard.

Diallo is also coming off a 10-point performance -- his lowest total since Jan. 5 against Villanova -- in a victory Saturday against St. John's, when he went 3-of-12 from the field. He still found a way to be a factor, though, with a career-high 15 rebounds.

Adding to Villanova's sense of urgency for getting back on track is that Wednesday's home game will be followed by three consecutive road games at St. John's (Madison Square Garden), Georgetown and Xavier.

The Wildcats have defeated each of their next four opponents already, all coming during an 11-game win streak after they opened the season with an 8-4 record. That 8-4 start included head-scratching losses to Furman and Penn, but defeats to Michigan, Kansas and Marquette are nothing to be ashamed about for the defending national champions.

Providence (14-10, 4-7) heads into Wednesday's game knowing that it will have a different look than the first meeting, a 65-59 defeat to the Wildcats at home.

Friars freshman A.J. Reeves (11.1 points per game), who did not play in that game because of a foot injury, is set to go this time. Wildcats freshman Cole Swider, who had 10 points in the first matchup, is out with a fractured bone in his right hand.

Perhaps the biggest difference Villanova will see this time around is the new vibe coming from Providence head coach Ed Cooley.

"Today was one of the most joyous coaching games I've had in my 13 years as a head coach," Cooley said after the St. John's victory, according to the Providence Journal. "I woke up this morning and it's been an up-and-down year for us. It's been frustration and it's been anger but I told the guys, 'Hey, let's have some fun. Nobody expects us to do much, so let's have some fun.'"

Diallo will still be the key, as the Big East's leading rebounder (8.3 per game) comes off his seventh double-double of the season and the 13th of his career. He also leads Providence with 3.2 assists per game. He has 10 games with at least 20 points this season.

There have been 14 meetings between the teams since the new Big East Conference was formed, with Villanova holding a 12-2 advantage.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 13, 2019

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