UCONN
NOVA

No Text

No. 14 Villanova rallies behind Samuels to beat UConn 61-55

PHILADELPHIA (AP) The ''UConn! UConn! UConn!'' shouts grew louder as Villanova fans were hushed with their team trailing, the thousands of Huskies die-hards that traveled to Philadelphia injecting the back-and-forth game with that ol' heated Big East feel.

''One of the things that brought back memories was when you could hear the UConn contingent chanting in our arena like it was their arena,'' Villanova coach Jay Wright said. ''I forgot about that. They always travel well, they always bring people here.''

Seven years after the two teams last played in Philly, the Wildcats got another reminder of just how rugged it gets to play the Huskies. The teams will be intertwined for more than a game next season when UConn rejoins the Big East, and while the rivalry will be renewed, the balance of power has shifted: 'Nova is the top dog in the Big East and the former perennial power Huskies are the ones looking up.

''This isn't the way UConn's looked,'' coach Dan Hurley said. ''We're on our way back.''

But it's not there yet.

Jermaine Samuels scored 19 points and made the decisive three-point play that pushed No. 14 Villanova ahead for good in a 61-55 victory over Connecticut on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, home of the NBA's 76ers and NHL's Flyers. Samuels converted a three-point play with 2:51 left for a 52-51 lead and then buried a 3 with 31 seconds remaining for a four-point lead that clinched another tight one for the Wildcats (14-3).

Samuels delivered in the clutch just as he did last month when he hit the winning 3 with 21 seconds left in the same building to knock off then-No. 1 Kansas.

''That's just my teammates having trust in me,'' Samuels said.

The Huskies (10-7) kept it close against their pending Big East rival and attacked the paint with authority to offset a miserable effort from 3-point range (2 of 15). Christian Vital fought through the lane and tossed in a layup that brought the Huskies within two with 24 seconds left. But a full-court press on Villanova came up empty and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl sank two free throws to secure the Wildcats' 10th win in 11 games.

Collin Gillespie scored 12 points and Villanova made 11 of 23 3-pointers.

Vital led the rebuilding Huskies with 13 points and eight rebounds.

''People better get us now, that's all,'' Hurley said. ''It's coming.''

Gillespie averaged 15.1 points and hit a team-high 38% of his 3s entering the game but was shut down in the first half, shooting 0 for 3. Once he started scoring, the Wildcats started rallying. Gillespie hit consecutive 3s and scored 10 straight points to help bring the Wildcats back from six points down to a 43-all tie with 7:43 left.

But Villanova's leading scorer, Saddiq Bey (15.4 points), went scoreless the rest of the game after having nine points in the first 7 minutes.

Bey had the ball knocked loose at midcourt and Vital snagged it for a driving layup and a 37-33 lead. The Huskies scored on 10 straight possessions - all 2-point buckets - until a missed 3 ended the streak, but with a six-point lead.

''Attitude is so important to us,'' Robinson-Early said. ''Down by six, we could tank and call it quits or we could talk to teach other and get each other going.''

The Wildcats were 10 1/2-point favorites against DePaul and needed overtime Tuesday at home to survive a serious scare and win by four. The Wildcats were 9 1/2-point favorites against UConn and were tested early until they shook off a rut in the beginning and connected from long range. They hit six of their 11 3s in the first half that give another one to the Wildcats.

BIG PICTURE

UConn: The Huskies have lost four of five and don't catch a break with a game against AAC preseason favorite Houston on Tuesday.

Villanova: The Wildcats keep on rolling, but a home game Tuesday against Butler could prove who really is the team to beat in the Big East.

FAMILIAR FACES

The game wrapped a three-season series that included a game in Connecticut and one at Madison Square Garden. The rivalry will be renewed on a more permanent basis next season when UConn leaves the American Athletic Conference to rejoin the Big East. The Huskies won national championships in 1999, 2004 and 2011 (and 2014 in the AAC), while the Wildcats won two more championships in 2016 and 2018 in UConn's absence.

''I kind of wish they weren't coming,'' Wright said. ''I'm not looking for more games like that. But I think that what it's going to be. He's done a really good job there. They're going to be tough to reckon with in the future.''

Villanova leads the series 36-31 and hasn't lost to the Huskies since 2014.

''The last two times they saw us we were a soft team, we were a bad team,'' Hurley said. ''This is part of the process you're going through from where we've been to get to the level Villanova is at, which is where we expect to be.''

BALL CONTROL

UConn had 17 turnovers that led to 23 points for Villanova. Led by three each by Samuels and Robinson-Earl, the Wildcats had nine steals.

UP NEXT

The Huskies play Thursday at Houston.

It should be a fantastic Big East showdown when the Wildcats host No. 5 Butler on Tuesday. The Bulldogs lost 79-66 to DePaul on Saturday.

---

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2020 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

1st Half

Time Team Play Score
20:00   Jumpball received by Connecticut  
19:27 +2 Josh Carlton made layup, assist by Christian Vital 2-0
18:55 +2 Cole Swider made layup 2-2
18:33 +2 Josh Carlton made layup, assist by Christian Vital 4-2
18:02   Traveling violation turnover on Saddiq Bey  
17:41   James Bouknight missed layup, blocked by Cole Swider  
17:39   Offensive rebound by Connecticut  
17:36   Alterique Gilbert missed jump shot  
17:34   Defensive rebound by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
17:25   Jeremiah Robinson-Earl missed layup, blocked by Josh Carlton  
17:23   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
17:12 +2 James Bouknight made jump shot 6-2
16:48 +2 Saddiq Bey made jump shot 6-4
16:24 +2 Christian Vital made jump shot 8-4
16:04   Jermaine Samuels missed layup, blocked by Akok Akok  
16:02   Offensive rebound by Jermaine Samuels  
15:52   Jermaine Samuels missed dunk, blocked by Akok Akok  
15:50   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
15:41 +3 Akok Akok made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Alterique Gilbert 11-4
15:24 +3 Saddiq Bey made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jermaine Samuels 11-7
14:54   Josh Carlton missed layup  
14:40   Defensive rebound by Jermaine Samuels  
14:40 +3 Saddiq Bey made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Brandon Slater 11-10
14:05   Alterique Gilbert missed 3-pt. jump shot  
14:03   Offensive rebound by Connecticut  
13:46 +2 Alterique Gilbert made layup 13-10
13:24   Saddiq Bey missed layup  
13:22   Offensive rebound by Saddiq Bey  
13:22   Shooting foul on Akok Akok  
13:22 +1 Saddiq Bey made 1st of 2 free throws 13-11
13:22   Saddiq Bey missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
13:22   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
13:03   Alterique Gilbert missed layup, blocked by Jermaine Samuels  
13:01   Defensive rebound by Justin Moore  
12:51 +3 Justin Moore made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Saddiq Bey 13-14
12:29   Offensive foul on James Bouknight  
12:29   Turnover on James Bouknight  
12:10   Traveling violation turnover on Justin Moore  
11:47 +2 Brendan Adams made layup, assist by Sidney Wilson 15-14
11:29   Offensive foul on Bryan Antoine  
11:29   Turnover on Bryan Antoine  
11:03   Offensive foul on Sidney Wilson  
11:03   Turnover on Sidney Wilson  
10:47 +2 Jermaine Samuels made layup, assist by Collin Gillespie 15-16
10:24   Bad pass turnover on Christian Vital, stolen by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
10:03 +3 Jermaine Samuels made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl 15-19
9:30   Personal foul on Jermaine Samuels  
9:18   Sidney Wilson missed layup  
9:16   Defensive rebound by Jermaine Samuels  
9:00   Personal foul on Alterique Gilbert  
8:57   Jeremiah Robinson-Earl missed layup  
8:55   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
8:43   Brendan Adams missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:41   Defensive rebound by Saddiq Bey  
8:20   Cole Swider missed jump shot  
8:18   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
8:08 +2 Josh Carlton made layup, assist by Alterique Gilbert 17-19
7:38 +2 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made layup 17-21
7:16   Offensive foul on Alterique Gilbert  
7:16   Turnover on Alterique Gilbert  
6:52   Bad pass turnover on Collin Gillespie  
6:50   Personal foul on Justin Moore  
6:32   Lost ball turnover on Josh Carlton, stolen by Jermaine Samuels  
6:17   Traveling violation turnover on Justin Moore  
6:05   James Bouknight missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:03   Defensive rebound by Justin Moore  
5:48   Saddiq Bey missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:46   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
5:36   Offensive foul on Josh Carlton  
5:36   Turnover on Josh Carlton  
5:22   Collin Gillespie missed jump shot  
5:20   Defensive rebound by Jalen Gaffney  
5:14 +2 Jalen Gaffney made layup 19-21
4:52   Saddiq Bey missed dunk, blocked by Josh Carlton  
4:50   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
4:34   Josh Carlton missed layup  
4:32   Offensive rebound by Akok Akok  
4:29 +2 Akok Akok made layup 21-21
4:00 +3 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Saddiq Bey 21-24
3:34   Jalen Gaffney missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:32   Defensive rebound by Collin Gillespie  
3:22   Justin Moore missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:20   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
3:10   Personal foul on Saddiq Bey  
3:06   Lost ball turnover on Jalen Gaffney, stolen by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
2:41 +3 Bryan Antoine made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Brandon Slater 21-27
2:21   Christian Vital missed jump shot  
2:19   Defensive rebound by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
2:01   Saddiq Bey missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:59   Defensive rebound by Jalen Gaffney  
1:55   Personal foul on Brandon Slater  
1:48   Bad pass turnover on Christian Vital, stolen by Jermaine Samuels  
1:36   Collin Gillespie missed jump shot  
1:34   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
1:25   Lost ball turnover on Christian Vital, stolen by Jermaine Samuels  
1:19   Shooting foul on Josh Carlton  
1:19   Jermaine Samuels missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:19   Jermaine Samuels missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
1:19   Defensive rebound by Akok Akok  
1:08   Bad pass turnover on Christian Vital, stolen by Collin Gillespie  
55.0   Bryan Antoine missed 3-pt. jump shot  
53.0   Defensive rebound by Connecticut  
53.0   Personal foul on Brandon Slater  
34.0   James Bouknight missed jump shot  
32.0   Defensive rebound by Justin Moore  
3.0   Collin Gillespie missed 3-pt. jump shot, blocked by Sidney Wilson  
1.0   Defensive rebound by Connecticut  
2.0   Jalen Gaffney missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1.0   Offensive rebound by Connecticut  
0.0   End of period  

2nd Half

Time Team Play Score
19:50   Bad pass turnover on Christian Vital, stolen by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
19:32   Out of bounds turnover on Jermaine Samuels  
19:14   Akok Akok missed jump shot  
19:12   Defensive rebound by Jermaine Samuels  
18:49   Justin Moore missed layup, blocked by Akok Akok  
18:47   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
18:40 +2 Christian Vital made jump shot 23-27
18:20   Jeremiah Robinson-Earl missed layup  
18:18   Defensive rebound by Akok Akok  
18:05 +2 Josh Carlton made jump shot 25-27
17:39   Collin Gillespie missed jump shot  
17:37   Offensive rebound by Jermaine Samuels  
17:28   Justin Moore missed 3-pt. jump shot  
17:26   Defensive rebound by Alterique Gilbert  
17:25   Personal foul on Saddiq Bey  
17:11 +2 Alterique Gilbert made jump shot 27-27
16:40 +3 Jermaine Samuels made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl 27-30
16:17 +2 Josh Carlton made jump shot, assist by Christian Vital 29-30
15:44   Cole Swider missed jump shot  
15:42   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
15:30 +2 Alterique Gilbert made layup 31-30
15:08 +3 Jermaine Samuels made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Collin Gillespie 31-33
14:39 +2 Josh Carlton made layup, assist by Alterique Gilbert 33-33
14:16   Jermaine Samuels missed 3-pt. jump shot  
14:14   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
14:08   James Bouknight missed layup  
14:06   Offensive rebound by Akok Akok  
14:06 +2 Akok Akok made dunk 35-33
13:55   Lost ball turnover on Saddiq Bey, stolen by Alterique Gilbert  
13:49 +2 Christian Vital made layup, assist by Alterique Gilbert 37-33
13:29   Personal foul on Alterique Gilbert  
13:13 +2 Collin Gillespie made jump shot 37-35
12:41 +2 Christian Vital made jump shot 39-35
12:16   Jermaine Samuels missed 3-pt. jump shot  
12:14   Defensive rebound by Christian Vital  
12:03 +2 Brendan Adams made layup, assist by Jalen Gaffney 41-35
11:42   Jeremiah Robinson-Earl missed layup  
11:40   Defensive rebound by Sidney Wilson  
11:30   Christian Vital missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:28   Defensive rebound by Justin Moore  
11:30   Traveling violation turnover on Jermaine Samuels  
11:13   Akok Akok missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:11   Defensive rebound by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
11:00 +3 Collin Gillespie made 3-pt. jump shot 41-38
10:32 +2 Alterique Gilbert made jump shot 43-38
10:09   Saddiq Bey missed jump shot  
10:07   Offensive rebound by Villanova  
10:07   Personal foul on Akok Akok  
10:00   Offensive foul on Jermaine Samuels  
10:00   Turnover on Jermaine Samuels  
9:39   Alterique Gilbert missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:37   Offensive rebound by Connecticut  
9:38   Personal foul on Cole Swider  
9:34   Personal foul on Collin Gillespie  
9:30   Traveling violation turnover on Brendan Adams  
9:08 +3 Collin Gillespie made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Saddiq Bey 43-41
8:45   Brendan Adams missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:43   Defensive rebound by Collin Gillespie  
8:38   Cole Swider missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:36   Offensive rebound by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
8:31   Jeremiah Robinson-Earl missed layup  
8:29   Offensive rebound by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
8:13   Cole Swider missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:11   Defensive rebound by Sidney Wilson  
8:03   Bad pass turnover on Alterique Gilbert  
7:52 +2 Collin Gillespie made jump shot 43-43
7:30   Shooting foul on Saddiq Bey  
7:30 +1 James Bouknight made 1st of 3 free throws 44-43
7:30 +1 James Bouknight made 2nd of 3 free throws 45-43
7:30 +1 James Bouknight made 3rd of 3 free throws 46-43
7:14   Collin Gillespie missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:12   Defensive rebound by Sidney Wilson  
6:45 +2 Alterique Gilbert made jump shot 48-43
6:16   Shooting foul on Sidney Wilson  
6:16 +1 Justin Moore made 1st of 2 free throws 48-44
6:16 +1 Justin Moore made 2nd of 2 free throws 48-45
5:48   Alterique Gilbert missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:46   Offensive rebound by Connecticut  
5:46   Shot clock violation turnover on Connecticut  
5:36   Personal foul on Christian Vital  
5:29 +2 Collin Gillespie made jump shot 48-47
5:12 +3 Christian Vital made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Alterique Gilbert 51-47
4:45   Offensive foul on Justin Moore  
4:45   Turnover on Justin Moore  
4:24   Bad pass turnover on Alterique Gilbert, stolen by Collin Gillespie  
4:18   Shooting foul on Josh Carlton  
4:16   Jermaine Samuels missed 1st of 3 free throws  
4:16 +1 Jermaine Samuels made 2nd of 3 free throws 51-48
4:16 +1 Jermaine Samuels made 3rd of 3 free throws 51-49
3:52   Alterique Gilbert missed jump shot  
3:50   Defensive rebound by Collin Gillespie  
3:40   Saddiq Bey missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:38   Defensive rebound by Josh Carlton  
3:31   Bad pass turnover on James Bouknight  
3:00 +2 Jermaine Samuels made layup, assist by Justin Moore 51-51
3:00   Shooting foul on Akok Akok  
3:00 +1 Jermaine Samuels made free throw 51-52
2:30   Alterique Gilbert missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:28   Defensive rebound by Collin Gillespie  
2:09   Collin Gillespie missed jump shot  
2:07   Offensive rebound by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
2:07   Personal foul on Josh Carlton  
2:07 +1 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made 1st of 2 free throws 51-53
2:07 +1 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made 2nd of 2 free throws 51-54
1:42 +2 Alterique Gilbert made jump shot 53-54
1:10   Collin Gillespie missed jump shot  
1:08   Defensive rebound by Alterique Gilbert  
1:01   Bad pass turnover on Alterique Gilbert, stolen by Justin Moore  
36.0 +3 Jermaine Samuels made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Collin Gillespie 53-57
24.0 +2 Christian Vital made jump shot 55-57
19.0   Personal foul on Sidney Wilson  
19.0 +1 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made 1st of 2 free throws 55-58
19.0 +1 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made 2nd of 2 free throws 55-59
15.0   Alterique Gilbert missed layup, blocked by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
13.0   Offensive rebound by Connecticut  
11.0   Josh Carlton missed jump shot  
9.0   Defensive rebound by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl  
9.0   Personal foul on Josh Carlton  
9.0 +1 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made 1st of 2 free throws 55-60
9.0 +1 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made 2nd of 2 free throws 55-61
4.0   Christian Vital missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2.0   Offensive rebound by Connecticut  
1.0   Christian Vital missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0.0   Offensive rebound by Connecticut  
Key Players
A. Akok
23 F
J. Robinson-Earl
24 F
35.0 Min. Per Game 35.0
13.5 Pts. Per Game 13.5
2.0 Ast. Per Game 2.0
10.0 Reb. Per Game 10.0
33.3 Field Goal % 44.8
14.3 Three Point % 50.0
50.0 Free Throw % 91.7
  Offensive rebound by Connecticut 0.0
  Christian Vital missed 3-pt. jump shot 1.0
  Offensive rebound by Connecticut 2.0
  Christian Vital missed 3-pt. jump shot 4.0
+ 1 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made 2nd of 2 free throws 9.0
+ 1 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl made 1st of 2 free throws 9.0
  Personal foul on Josh Carlton 9.0
  Defensive rebound by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl 9.0
  Josh Carlton missed jump shot 11.0
  Offensive rebound by Connecticut 13.0
  Alterique Gilbert missed layup, blocked by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl 15.0
Team Stats
Points 55 61
Field Goals 25-51 (49.0%) 19-49 (38.8%)
3-Pointers 2-15 (13.3%) 11-23 (47.8%)
Free Throws 3-3 (100.0%) 12-16 (75.0%)
Total Rebounds 35 23
Offensive 2 6
Defensive 23 16
Team 10 1
Assists 10 12
Steals 1 9
Blocks 6 3
Turnovers 16 10
Fouls 16 12
Technicals 0 0
13 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST
19 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST
12T
away team logo Connecticut 10-7 213455
home team logo 14 Villanova 14-3 273461
Team Stats
away team logo Connecticut 10-7 71.7 PPG 41.5 RPG 12.8 APG
home team logo 14 Villanova 14-3 73.9 PPG 39.6 RPG 14.9 APG
Key Players
1
C. Vital G 15.1 PPG 6.4 RPG 2.7 APG 37.6 FG%
23
J. Samuels F 10.7 PPG 5.3 RPG 1.8 APG 48.0 FG%
Top Scorers
C. Vital G 13 PTS 8 REB 3 AST
J. Samuels F 19 PTS 5 REB 1 AST
49.0 FG% 38.8
13.3 3PT FG% 47.8
100.0 FT% 75.0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Vital 13 8 3 6/11 1/5 0/0 1 34 0 0 5 0 8
A. Gilbert 12 2 5 6/14 0/4 0/0 3 28 1 0 4 0 2
J. Carlton 12 6 0 6/9 0/0 0/0 5 30 0 2 2 0 6
A. Akok 7 4 0 3/5 1/2 0/0 3 34 0 3 0 2 2
J. Bouknight 5 0 0 1/5 0/1 3/3 1 26 0 0 2 0 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Vital 13 8 3 6/11 1/5 0/0 1 34 0 0 5 0 8
A. Gilbert 12 2 5 6/14 0/4 0/0 3 28 1 0 4 0 2
J. Carlton 12 6 0 6/9 0/0 0/0 5 30 0 2 2 0 6
A. Akok 7 4 0 3/5 1/2 0/0 3 34 0 3 0 2 2
J. Bouknight 5 0 0 1/5 0/1 3/3 1 26 0 0 2 0 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
B. Adams 4 0 0 2/4 0/2 0/0 0 17 0 0 1 0 0
J. Gaffney 2 2 1 1/2 0/1