Villanova basketball: When it rains, it pours

Half the time they look great, the other half they look awful.

That’s the story of Villanova’s season, and it was no different in last night’s 70-69 loss to South Florida in the Big East tournament. After losing four straight and six of eight to end the regular season, the ’Cats desperately needed some confidence heading into the NCAA tournament. They didn’t get it.

The Wildcats (21-11) trailed 26-21 to South Florida before going on a 28-7 run to take a 49-33 lead at the half. It looked like the ’Cats had finally found their game, the same one that led the Wildcats to a 19-4 start this season.

But then the ’Nova team that struggled in the last month reappeared in the second half — and quickly let USF back in the game. Trailing 69-68 with 22 seconds left, Maalik Wayns threw an inbounds pass directly to USF’s Anthony Crater for an easy layup to give the Bulls the lead.

Wayns seemed to have redeemed himself by sinking two free throws with 11 seconds remaining, but Crater dribbled the length of the court for a layup over the outstretched arms of Dominic Cheek with five seconds left. A last-second jumper by Wayns bounced out and the Bulls celebrated the victory.

“A great performance in the second half by South Florida and a poor performance by us,” said coach Jay Wright. “We just couldn’t get a stop down the stretch. When it rains, it pours.”

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