No. 9 Nova Loses Heartbreaker To No. 4 Pitt, 57-54

The number 10 ranked Villanova Wildcats were trailing the 4th ranked Pittsburgh Panthers by three with the ball and 12 seconds left to go on the clock.  Talented Nova guard, Maalik Wayns took a three-point shot and made it to tie the game, but unfortunately for the Wildcats he took the shot a split-second too late.

That’s why the Panthers edged Villanova by the score of 57-54 to break a 46-game winning streak for the Wildcats at the Pavillion.

Nova’s Antonio Pena hit a 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining on the clock, then stole the ball to give the Wildcats a chance to tie it up.  Dominic Cheek took a three point shot, but couldn’t it to drop before the ball rolled outside to Wayns who got the shot off a little late.

“The Philly guys played like Philly guys,” said Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh’s coach.

It was a hard-fought contest throughout, but two Panthers led by two youngsters from the city of Philadelphia proved to be too much for Nova.

Philadelphia export Brad Wanamaker controlled the game for the Panthers while making numerous big shots.  He led the Panthers scoring with 21 points.  Another Philadelphia-bred youngster Nasir Robinson contributed 15.

“We knew we had this game,” said Wanamaker, who was a high school teammate of Wayns. “We didn’t want to lose and we kept playing our best basketball.”

Things got ugly during one stretch in the game when tempers flared on both sides. Isaiah Armwood  hit one of the Panthers in the face, as he was putting his arm around the neck of teammate Mouphtaou Yarou.  It caused a skirmish and some pushing, but the referees and coaches kept calm and Armwood was whistled for a technical foul.

Pittsburgh which is a team known for the toughness, seemed to come to life after that incident.

The Panthers (23-2, 11-1 Big East) may move up in the rankings because of number one Ohio State losing their first game earlier today.  Nova (19-6, 7-5 Big East) will likely fall out of the top ten.

Nova got a quality performance from big man Yarou who led the team in scoring with 15 points in rebounds with 10.   Wayns scored 13.

Both teams played without one of their top outside scorers   Nova went to battle without Corey Stokes, who is battle turf toe, while Pittsburgh found a way to without leading scorer Ashton Gibbs, who was sidelined with a left knee injury.

This was a special Saturday for Villanova as they hosted ESPN’s GameDay show at the Pavillion. Former Wildcat great Randy Foye who was in town with the Minnesota Timberwolves to play the 76ers, had his uniform lifted up to the rafters in honor of his great career with the Wildcats.

2 thoughts on “No. 9 Nova Loses Heartbreaker To No. 4 Pitt, 57-54

  1. Live by the 3, die by the 3, This Villanova Team is talented but is not built for a deep March Madness Tournament Run as usual…

  2. KInd of reminds me of the EAgles.. Small and fast and like to out-finesse and out-run teams.. Once they play physical teams and or when Tournament time comes, they play small and fail to show up just like the Eagles do..

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