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Old 02-24-2006, 08:22 AM
TomWilkinson TomWilkinson is offline
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Default #2 Villanova at #3 Connecticut on Sunday

The marquee game of the weekend is on Sunday as #2 Villanova is in Connecticut to take on the #3 ranked Huskies. Villanova won the first matchup against Connecticut 69-64 on Feb. 13 and they hold a one-game lead in conference play. The matchup almost lost some of its luster, as Villanova needed a last second shot to overcome Cincinnati on Thursday.

The Wildcats blew a 12-point lead and needed Dante Cunningham's layup off an inbounds pass with 3.2 seconds left to win 74-72.

Cincinnati plays as hard as any team in the Big East, and this environment is as difficult as any in the Big East," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We're going to see the same thing Sunday. It's like we set this up for perfect preparation."

Eric Hicks led a 16-4 spurt that put the Bearcats up 72-70 with 1:10 to go. Foye hit two free throws, and an offensive foul on guard Devan Downey gave the ball back to Villanova. The inbound play had Cunningham coming off a pick and he was unguarded for a pass and layup with 3.2 seconds left. Hicks' 3-point attempt at the buzzer was just a little bit too hard, or Cincinnati would have won.

"We're used to having teams make runs and places getting loud," Cunningham said. "Every team makes runs. We just have to be tough."

The Wildcats matched the best start in school history they also went 22-2 in 1937-38 and set a school record with their 11th straight win in the Big East. They've won 11 in a row overall, their longest winning streak of the season.

"Teams play at another level against us, and we're learning to handle that," Wright said.

Cincinnati fans in the capacity crowd of 13,176 waved signs urging president Nancy Zimpher to give interim coach Andy Kennedy a contract. The crowd applauded the Bearcats for their effort after Hicks' final shot, and chanted "Hire Andy!" as they left the floor.

"I appreciate that," Kennedy said. "I went into this with my eyes open. I signed a one-year contract. That's what I expect. For me, it's about trying to get this team to the NCAA tournament. I thought we let a golden opportunity slip through our fingers tonight."
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