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No. 1 Villanova beats No. 23 Notre Dame 74-66

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Jay Wright doesn't follow who is in the running for national player of the year. However, the Villanova coach thinks he has the best player in the country in senior guard Josh Hart.

After Saturday's career-best performance, it would be hard to argue.

''He's as good as any player in the country is and he's so complete. He will do whatever it takes to win a game and he has the ability to do it and at the right time,'' Wright said. ''He got big rebounds at the end of the game. He got offensive rebounds, he scored, he made passes, he made free throws, he defended. He did everything. He's as complete a player as we've ever had.''

Hart scored a career-high 37 points and No. 1 Villanova rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat No. 23 Notre Dame 74-66 on Saturday at the Prudential Center.

''I honestly didn't know how many points I had. I was just trying to make the right play,'' Hart said, later adding, ''I want to be great. I want to be as good as Josh Hart can be, and I have no idea how good that is, but I'm going to try and figure out.''

Hart was the only Villanova (10-0) player to score in double figures. He was 10 of 14 from the field, including 3 of 4 from behind the arc, and he made all 14 of his free throw attempts.

Matt Farrell and Steve Vasturia had 18 points each for Notre Dame (9-1), which entered the game as one of eight remaining unbeaten Division I teams.

Villanova took its first lead of the game at 57-56 after Eric Paschall blocked Vasturia's 3-pointer with 9:15 left. Hart assisted on a layup by Jalen Brunson at 9:09 to give the Wildcats the lead.

The teams exchanged the lead from there until Villanova pulled away in the final minute.

Farrell, a Bridgewater, New Jersey native, made his first six shots including a driving layup at the halftime buzzer that gave Notre Dame a 41-36 lead.

''It was a blast playing here. I think last year I wasn't able to play that much, so I wasn't able to play my game,'' Farrell said. ''I was playing a different kind of role.''

Which includes being a leader on the team, both vocally and statistically.

''He's a fighter,'' coach Mike Brey said. ''He's one tough Jersey guy.''

Down 35-24 with 3:52 left in the first half, Villanova chipped away at the lead.

''We were trying to stop them in the first half. We really were. . They make the right play every time, but we just were not doing a good job in the first half for whatever reason,'' Wright said. ''And they're good. That's the other reason. They're really good. Nothing different at halftime. We just said we got to try to do what our game plan is. We're trying and they're beating us. We have to try harder.''

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish were off to their best start of Brey's tenure, which began in 2000-01.

Villanova: Dating to their national championship run last season, the Wildcats are tied for the longest winning streak in school history at 16 games. Villanova won 16 straight games in the second half of the 2014-15 season before losing to N.C. State in the NCAA Tournament.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Wildcats should stay No. 1 as they remain undefeated. Given Notre Dame's effort, there's a chance they stay in the poll following its first loss of the season.

NOT SO NEUTRAL COURT

While the game was played in Newark as part of the Never Forget Tribute Classic, the packed Prudential Center was filled with Wildcat fans.

''It was a road atmosphere,'' Brey said. ''I loved how we handled it. We were poised.''

SLAYING THE CHAMPIONS

Notre Dame is no stranger to defeating national champions. Under Brey, Notre Dame had played the defending champion 11 times, winning seven of those games. The most recent win came last season when they defeated 2015 champion Duke 95-91 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

FORMER BIG EAST FOES

Before Notre Dame left the Big East for the ACC, it played Villanova regularly. The schools have played 36 times with Villanova holding a 19-17 lead.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish get a week to rest before hosting No. 18 Purdue next Saturday night.

Villanova: The Wildcats will complete their circuit with the Big 5 when they host Philadelphia rival Temple on Tuesday night.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
  Defensive rebound by Mikal Bridges 12.0
  Bonzie Colson missed 3-pt. jump shot 14.0
+ 1 Josh Hart made 2nd of 2 free throws 20.0
+ 1 Josh Hart made 1st of 2 free throws 20.0
  Personal foul on Rex Pflueger 20.0
  Defensive rebound by Josh Hart 22.0
  Matt Farrell missed 3-pt. jump shot 24.0
+ 1 Darryl Reynolds made 2nd of 2 free throws 27.0
+ 1 Darryl Reynolds made 1st of 2 free throws 27.0
  Personal foul on Steve Vasturia 27.0
  Defensive rebound by Darryl Reynolds 29.0
Team Stats
Points 66 74
Field Goals 27-58 (46.6%) 25-50 (50.0%)
3-Pointers 6-22 (27.3%) 4-16 (25.0%)
Free Throws 6-6 (100.0%) 20-22 (90.9%)
Total Rebounds 25 33
Offensive 6 10
Defensive 16 23
Team 3 0
Assists 16 10
Steals 7 5
Blocks 1 4
Turnovers 9 9
Fouls 17 10
Technicals 0 0
18 PTS, 3 AST
37 PTS, 11 REB, 4 AST
12T
away team logo 23 Notre Dame 9-1 412566
home team logo 1 Villanova 10-0 363874
Team Stats
away team logo 23 Notre Dame 9-1 76.3 PPG 37.8 RPG 14.4 APG
home team logo 1 Villanova 10-0 87.4 PPG 37.9 RPG 16.8 APG
Key Players
5
M. Farrell G 17.0 PPG 2.5 RPG 5.5 APG 44.2 FG%
00
J. Hart G PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
M. Farrell G 18 PTS 2 REB 6 AST
J. Hart G 37 PTS 11 REB 4 AST
46.6 FG% 50.0
27.3 3PT FG% 25.0
100.0 FT% 90.9
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
S. Vasturia 37 18 0 3 2 0 2 2 7/15 2/6 2/2 0 0
M. Farrell 36 18 2 6 2 0 2 4 8/13 2/5 0/0 0 2
B. Colson 35 11 8 3 2 0 2 2 5/12 0/3 1/1 2 6
M. Geben 16 5 3 1 1 0 1 3 2/3 0/0 1/1 2 1
V. Beachem 37 4 5 1 0 1 1 1 2/11 0/5 0/0 0 5
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
S. Vasturia 37 18 0 3 2 0 2 2 7/15 2/6 2/2 0 0
M. Farrell 36 18 2 6 2 0 2 4 8/13 2/5 0/0 0 2
B. Colson 35 11 8 3 2 0 2 2 5/12 0/3 1/1 2 6
M. Geben 16 5 3 1 1 0 1 3 2/3 0/0 1/1 2 1
V. Beachem 37 4 5 1 0 1 1 1 2/11 0/5 0/0 0 5
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
R. Pflueger 19 5 3 1 0 0 0 2 2/2 1/1 0/0 1 2
T. Gibbs 10 5 0 1 0 0 0 1 1/2 1/2 2/2 0 0
A. Torres 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0
M. Ryan 8 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 0
M. Gregory - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Burns - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Djogo - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Mazza - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Mooney - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 66 22 16 7 1 9 17 27/58 6/22 6/6 6 16
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Hart 37 37 11 4 2 0 1 2 10/14 3/4 14/14 1 10
M. Bridges 38 8 6 1 2 0 0 0 4/8 0/1 0/0 4 2
J. Brunson 25 8 3 3 0 0 2 2 3/8 0/2 2/2 2 1
K. Jenkins 36 7 3 2 0 1 3 2 2/9 1/5 2/3 0 3
D. Reynolds 25 6 3 0 1 2 0 1 2/3 0/0 2/3 2 1
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Hart 37 37 11 4 2 0 1 2 10/14 3/4 14/14 1 10
M. Bridges 38 8 6 1 2 0 0 0 4/8 0/1 0/0 4 2
J. Brunson 25 8 3 3 0 0 2 2 3/8 0/2 2/2 2 1
K. Jenkins 36 7 3 2 0 1 3 2 2/9 1/5 2/3 0 3
D. Reynolds 25 6 3 0 1 2 0 1 2/3 0/0 2/3 2 1
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
E. Paschall 20 8 3 0 0 1 1 2 4/4 0/0 0/0 0 3
D. DiVincenzo 19 0 4 0 0 0 2 1 0/4 0/4 0/0 1 3
P. Booth - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Delaney - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Grace - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Kennedy - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Leibig - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Painter - - - - - - - - - - - - -
O. Spellman - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 74 33 10 5 4 9 10 25/50 4/16 20/22 10 23