Wildcats ready to bounce back vs. Marquette

Posted: January 26, 2014

Villanova coach Jay Wright liked the way his team bounced back at practice one day after the barrage of three-point baskets launched against the Wildcats by Creighton from all over the Wells Fargo Center and, so it seemed, even the parking lots.

"They came back with a great attitude," Wright said, referring to the Cats' first workout following the 96-68 pasting they absorbed Monday night at the hands of the Bluejays.

The fourth-ranked Wildcats need to keep that great attitude and execute better at both ends of the floor when they travel to the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee to take on Marquette in a Big East game on Saturday.

The Golden Eagles (11-8, 3-3 Big East), the preseason favorite to win the conference, may have been playing below expectations in the early going, but they possess a 20-game winning streak in Big East games, third-longest such streak in the country. Villanova (16-2, 5-1) has lost in three of its last four visits to Marquette.

"I think they're like a lot of teams in our league this year, they're kind of finding their way," Wright said. "They're finding a comfort level right now and I think they're playing really good basketball. Their last three games, they lost an overtime game at Butler they could have won, beat Seton Hall, which is a really good team, and they won at Georgetown."

The Wildcats have had five days to erase memories of Monday night's nightmarish outing against Creighton, during which the Blue Jays hit a Big East-record 21 three-point baskets and shot 60 percent from beyond the arc. Ethan Wragge drained his first seven attempts from deep and finished nine of 14.

Marquette is not known for its three-point shooting, ranking last in the Big East in threes average (4.74) and percentage (30.4). But the Golden Eagles play outstanding defense; they lead the league in points allowed (64.0) and are second in field-goal defense (39.5 percent).

So Villanova cannot afford to look back on Creighton in any fashion, and Wright thinks his players have put all that in the past.

"I think everybody took responsibility for the loss as well as me and our coaching staff," he said. "We stick together. We win together and we're going to lose together. It's a real special group that way."


Weekend in the City Six

VCU (15-4, 3-1 Atlantic Ten) at La Salle (11-7, 3-1)

Saturday, noon (ESPN2)

La Salle is coming off a 66-51 loss to St. Bonaventure, while VCU has won seven of its last eight. The Explorers have won 11 of their last 12 games against Atlantic Ten Conference opponents at home. La Salle won, 69-62, at VCU last year as part of back-to-back wins against ranked opponents.

St. Joseph's (13-5, 3-1 A-10) at Richmond (13-6, 3-1)

Saturday, 4 p.m. (NBC-SN)

St. Joe's has won four in a row and nine of its last 10, while Richmond is coming off a 58-55 home win against No. 13 Massachusetts. Hawks starters Ronald Roberts, Halil Kanacevic, DeAndre' Bembry, and Langston Galloway are each averaging more than 10 points per game.

William & Mary (10-7, 2-2 CAA) at Drexel (10-8, 2-3)

Saturday, 4 p.m.

Coming off a 90-77 home loss to Delaware Monday, Drexel will host William & Mary in a match-up of two struggling Colonial Athletic Association teams. The Dragons have lost five of their last seven, while the Tribe have lost two of their past three. William & Mary beat Drexel, 85-73, at home on Jan. 8.

NJIT (8-12) at Penn (3-11)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

In the fourth meeting of this series, Penn will host NJIT in the Quakers' last nonconference game of the season. The Quakers have lost eight of their last nine and are coming off an 85-68 home loss to St .Joe's. Penn beat NJIT, 54-53, last year in Newark, N.J.

Cincinatti (18-2, 7-0 Big East) at Temple (5-12, 0-6)

Sunday, 4 p.m. (CBS-SN)

Temple's seven-game losing streak is the program's longest since the 2000-01 season. The Owls were outrebounded, 45-25, on Tuesday in their loss at Connecticut. On Jan. 14, Temple lost, 69-58, at Cincinnati and committed 15 turnovers.


jjuliano@phillynews.com

@joejulesinq

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