Bad beat: UConn survives but Villanova covers with last-second half-court heave

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.

Bad_beat__UConn_survives_but_Villanova_covers_with_last_second_half_court_heave3UConn 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.

Bad_beat__UConn_survives_but_Villanova_covers_with_last_second_half_court_heave3Kyle 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.

Bad_beat__UConn_survives_but_Villanova_covers_with_last_second_half_court_heave3Dan 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.

Up next

UConn doesn’t play again until Jan. 28 against Xavier.

The Wildcats play Wednesday at St. John’s.

with AP

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