Bad beat: UConn survives but Villanova covers with last-second half-court heave
UConn fans got a win, but it was another story for UConn bettors.
Connecticut survived an upset bid by Villanova Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, with the top-ranked Huskies pulling out a 66-65 win.
The Huskies seemed ready to walk off the court with a 66-62 win, but Wildcats guard Mark Armstrong tossed up a half-court prayer as the final buzzer sounded.
Nothing but net. And heartbreak.
Villanova +3.5 against No. 1 UConn through the backdoor from halfcourtpic.twitter.com/WLnQfx0GLo
— BetRivers Sportsbook (@BetRivers) January 21, 2024UConn was favored by 3.5 points in the Big East showdown.
That means Armstrong’s seemingly meaningless buzzer-beater allowed Villanova to cover the spread.
It didn’t take long for social media to start grumbling.
Super bad beat in the UConn/Villanova game- #UConn favored by -3.5, was up 4 with 4 seconds left and the Nova guy nailed half court shot to end the game with Villanova covering
— Ryan L (@ryannealg) January 21, 2024Guard Tristen Newton led the Huskies with a game-high 25 points.
Newton already had the assist on the go-ahead bucket when he put the finishing touches on UConn’s second win of the week since it hit No. 1 in the poll with a pair of free throws.
HE HIT THE HALF COURT BUZZER BEATER TO COVER!HOLY BAD BEAT @notthefakeSVP@StanfordSteve82#UConn#Villanova
— Kyle Campbell (@KMCampbell7) January 21, 2024Newton then waved bye-bye to a Villanova student section that taunted him all game.
Safe travels to them going back home to the crib, Newton said with a laugh.
For Villanova, guards TJ Bamba and Justin Moore each had 15.
Mark Armstrong with the "meaningless" halfcourt shot.UConn wins at Villanova by one point.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) January 21, 2024UConn won its seventh straight to improve to 17-2, 7-1 in the Big East.
The Huskies, the reigning national champions, are 2-0 since becoming the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25.
With Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright in the house, Villanova (11-7, 4-3) put up a fight in front of nearly 20,000 fans at their NBA off-campus home, where three national championship banners hang in the rafters.
3UConn had to fight to the very end to survive an upset bid Saturday by Villanova. APBut Alex Karaban hit the decisive 3-pointer for UConn with 2:43 remaining and Villanova lost for the third time in its last four games.
Under second-year coach Kyle Neptune, the Wildcats are still very much a work in progress.
3Kyle Neptune has big shoes to fill in Philadelphia following the departure of Hall of Famer Jay Wright in 2022. APIn Wrights heyday, the Wildcats might trail or play a close game against a team like UConn, only to rip off eight or nine 3s and go on some game-breaking run for one more blowout win en route to a 25-plus win season.
Now under coach Dan Hurley, it’s the Huskies who have left no doubt about their place in college basketball.
This is a manhood test every time you step on the court in the Big East, Hurley said after the big win. It’s UFC-type (games). It’s steel cage. You could throw elbows, it’s jiu-jitsu, it’s Muay Thai, it’s everything.
3Dan Hurley led the Huskies to an NCAA title last season and has UConn ranked No. 1 this year. APThe Huskies also have been strengthened by the return of star center Donovan Clingan, who played his second game since he missed five games with a tendon injury in his right foot.
The 7-foot-2 sophomore scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds.
UConn doesn’t play again until Jan. 28 against Xavier.
The Wildcats play Wednesday at St. John’s.
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