Friars lose 2OT heartbreaker to Wildcats

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Providence (17-10, 7-7) was edged by #9 Villanova in double overtime Tuesday night, 82-79, in a game that featured 15 lead changes.

Behind a packed house, the Friars jumped out to an early 22-13 lead over Nova, thanks in large part to 10 points from sophomore Josh Fortune over that stretch. However, Villanova sophomore Ryan Arcidiacono nailed a few key three-pointers towards the end of the half to bring the Wildcats back to tie the game 33-33 at the break.

Villanova sustained a lead early in the second half and maintained it throughout until LaDontae Henton came off of a screen in the final minute of regulation and drained a three-pointer to tie the game 63-63, his first points of the game. After Arcidiacono missed on a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, the Wildcats again missed on a chance to win at the end of the first overtime.

However, the third time proved to be a charm for Villanova. With the score tied 79-79, Arcidiacono drove to the basket for an and-one, making it an 82-79 game with 3.4 seconds remaining. The Friars set up a perfect play with time running out, setting up a clear three for Henton, but it fell just short.

The Friars were haunted by 19 turnovers in the game, including seven from Fortune.

Bryce Cotton led the Friars with a game-high 22 points and nine assists, while Kadeem Batts (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Tyler Harris (15 points, 12 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles for Providence.

Arcidiacono led five Wildcats’ in double-figures with 21 points. James Bell also chipped in with 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

The Friars will look to bounce back on Sunday, when they travel to Butler for a 6:00 p.m. tip. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

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