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.
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.
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.
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.