Cartwright's 17 helps Providence stun No. 3 Villanova 76-71
Kyron Cartwright scored 17 points and Providence withstood several late surges to stun third-ranked Villanova 76-71 on Wednesday night.
Rodney Bullock and Alpha Diallo each added 14 points for the Friars (17-9, 8-5 Big East), who snapped a five-game losing streak to the Wildcats.
It was Providence's first win over Villanova since Jan. 24, 2016.
Mikal Bridges had 19 points for Villanova, but fouled out with 1:12 to play in the game. Jalen Brunson added 14 points.
Villanova (23-3, 10-3) pulled within 59-54 on a pair of free throws by Omari Spellman with 6:25 left. But the Friars outscored the Wildcats 8-4 over the next two minutes to push the lead back to 67-58.
Collin Gillespie gave the Wildcats a chance after his layup trimmed Providence's lead 72-69 on a layup with 29 seconds left. Cartwright then connected on 1 of his 2 free throws on the other end.
Villanova missed on its ensuing possession and was forced to foul with 20.6 left. Cartwright again hit 1 of 2, and Eric Paschall made a layup on the other end to make it 74-71.
The Wildcats fouled again with 12.8 left, but this time Diallo was able to convert on a pair of free throws.
Spellman, who entered the night leading the team in rebounding, wore a protective mask on Wednesday after suffering a fracture to a small facial bone during Saturday's win over Butler.
He stayed active underneath the basket, scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds. The extra opportunities helped the Wildcats outscore the Friars 44-20 in the paint.
But Villanova struggled from the outside, missing 17 of 20 3-point attempts. The Wildcats also finished with 19 turnovers.
The Friars found an offensive rhythm early in the second half and took a 39-31 lead on a 3-pointer by Cartwright. But Cartwright was forced to the bench two minutes later after picking up his fourth foul with 14:09 to play in the game.
Villanova: It's a setback for the Wildcats, who were trying to keep pace with conference-leader Xavier. They have now lost two of their last three.
Providence: The Friars will likely need to win out and win the Big East tournament to earn an NCAA bid, but this is their second win this season over a top 5 team, having beaten Xavier last month.
Villanova: Visits fourth-ranked Xavier in the second meeting this season between the possible No. 1 seeds in the upcoming NCAA tournament. The Wildcats beat the Musketeers 89-65 last month.
Providence: Visits Butler on Saturday.