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Providence Breaks Villanova’s Big East Streak

Providence defeated fourth-ranked Villanova 82-76 in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center Sunday afternoon. The Friars nearly won in regulation before senior Ryan Arcidiacono scored a tying three-pointer with seven seconds left in the game. Villanova went up by three points in overtime, but that would be their last lead at the Friars closed out the game behind Bentil’s 10 overtime points.

All of the odds were against Providence, they have a worse conference record, were on the road, and were the underdogs, but Providence put their team on the map with the victory. Sophomore forward Ben Bentil finished with a remarkable double-double and career high, 31 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

The upset by No. 16/17 Providence was one of the best wins in program history. It was the first win over a top five team in seven years and the win ended the Wildcats 22 game winning streak against Big East opponents. The loss is also Villanova’s first home loss in 32 games, since 2014 while Providence remains undefeated on the road this season. This season, the Friars are making a lot of noise with a 4-1 record against ranked teams.

Sam Vecenie tied his career high 13 rebounds on Sunday. Junior Kris Dunn notched 14 assists, 13 points, five rebounds and four steals before fouling out.Villanova still sits at the top of the conference with a 7-1 record. Jay Wright and the Wildcats are ahead of four Big East teams with a 5-2 record: Providence, Xavier, Georgetown and Creighton.

Arcidiacono was one of four Wildcats to reach double figures in scoring for the game, with a team-high 19 points. Junior Josh Hart added 18 points and five rebounds. Villanova was outrebound 39-32 and outshot on the night. They shot 44 percent overall and 29 percent from three-point range. The Wildcats defense did not pull them through as it has so many other games as the Friars finished 46 overall and 36 percent from beyond the arc. Villanova is off for a week before they face St. John’s next Sunday at Madison Square Garden at noon (Fox 29/610 Sports Radio WTEL).

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