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Feb 3, 2024 2:57 pm

Villanova to work on details in visit from Providence

Villanova looks to snap a five-game losing streak when it hosts Providence on Sunday in Philadelphia.

The Wildcats (11-10, 4-6 Big East) fell to No. 9 Marquette 85-80 on Tuesday.

After starting 4-1 in the rugged Big East Conference, they have careened in the wrong direction.

“We always want to be dialed into the details of the game,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said. “There are hundreds of plays that can be the difference between winning and losing — loose balls, deflections, a rebound you don’t get. We haven’t won enough of those battles. The way you get better results is to win more of those.”

Eric Dixon and TJ Bamba led the Wildcats with 24 points apiece in the setback against the Golden Eagles.

Once again, they got off to a slow start and fell behind by 20.

Despite a furious rally, the Wildcats came up just short.

“I thought Marquette came out and really set the tone from the start,” Neptune said. “They played extremely hard and then made some crucial, crucial plays down the stretch to seal the deal.”

Providence had won three in a row before a 74-65 loss to No. 1 UConn on Wednesday.

The Friars (14-7, 5-5) played well enough to win, but struggled from the free-throw line, going 13 of 26.

“Made free throws are part of discipline and we didn’t (make them),” Providence coach Kim English said. “So, we didn’t deserve to win.”

The Friars have been competing at a high level, even with standout forward Bryce Hopkins, who was lost for the season with a knee injury on Jan. 3.

Devin Carter and Josh Oduro scored 20 points each against the Huskies.

This loss, according to English, was all related to execution.

“We played hard, which is good — but so did they,” English said. “In this league, in college basketball, everyone plays hard. You have to play hard and execute.”

Providence won both meetings against Villanova last season, the first time it swept the regular-season series since 2013..

–Field Level Media

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