Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 93, Marquette 81

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 93, Marquette 81

BOX SCORE 

Villanova responded to its first loss of the season just about perfectly.

Three days after their program-record 20-game win streak was snapped at Butler, the No. 1 Wildcats cruised to a 93-81 win over Marquette in front of 16,891 fans at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.

Kris Jenkins led the way with a season-high 23 points for Villanova (15-1 overall, 3-1 Big East), which shot a blistering 65 percent from the field and 61 percent from three-point range. The Wildcats were shooting over 80 percent in the second half late in the game before head coach Jay Wright went to his bench and the Golden Eagles made the final score look closer than it was.

Markus Howard led Marquette (10-5, 1-2) with 21 points.

Leading by 11 at halftime, Villanova opened the second half with 11 straight points, including three straight three-pointers, to turn the game into a rout.

Big men on campus
Jenkins, who shot 7 for 11 from the field and 6 for 9 from three-point range, was joined by three other ’Nova players in double figures. Fellow star senior Josh Hart had 19 points and seven assists, Jalen Brunson scored 16, and Mikal Bridges finished with 15 points, shooting a perfect 4 for 4 from the field, 3 for 3 from three-point range and 4 for 4 from the foul line.

Aside from Howard, Katin Reinhardt (15 points), Sam Hauser (13 points) and Jajuan Johnson (12 points) hit double figures for Marquette.

By the numbers
• Villanova set a season high with 24 assists.

• Both teams made 15 free throws but Marquette did it on only 17 attempts while Villanova did it on 22 attempts.

• Villanova shot 18 for 26 and Marquette 12 for 32 from inside the three-point arc.

First half
Villanova came roaring out of the gate, making its first six shots and eight of its first nine en route to a 23-13 lead.

The Golden Eagles made some threes to hang around but had a rough end to the half when head coach Steve Wojciechowski erupted at the refs and was whistled for a technical foul and ’Nova scored the next six points to take a 44-33 lead into halftime.

Wojciechowski may have had good reason to be upset. Marquette didn’t get to the foul line until the final minute of the first half. But the Golden Eagles were more hurt by shooting 5 of 15 from inside the three-point arc. 

Villanova shot 65 percent in the first half and 60 percent from three-point range.

WFC Dominance
Villanova is now 14-2 at the Wells Fargo Center since the start of the 2012-13 regular season.

The Wildcats have an all-time record of 47-34 in the building, winning 37 of its last 56 games. Saturday’s game was their first of four there this season.

Up next
Villanova has another tough home test, taking on Xavier at the Pavilion on Tuesday night.

Marquette hosts Seton Hall the same night.

Drexel's Chris Crawford soaks up tradition at U.S. Open

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USA Today Images

Drexel's Chris Crawford soaks up tradition at U.S. Open

ERIN, Wis. — The U.S. Open is all about tradition. This week is the 117th playing of golf's national championship and this event more than most celebrates those golfers who play the game as amateurs. 

Soon-to-be Drexel graduate Chris Crawford has been soaking up all the traditions this week at Erin Hills. Playing in his second U.S. Open after qualifying through both local and sectional competition for the second straight year, an extremely difficult feat, the 23-year-old fifth-year senior enjoyed the amateur dinner put on by the tournament organizers with the USGA. Crawford and his fellow amateurs, a stout list including Texas' Scottie Scheffler, who shot 3-under Thursday to seize the early low amateur lead, were celebrated the entire evening — one of Crawford's early highlights in a long week here in Wisconsin. 

Crawford produced a 3-over par 75 Thursday during the first round to tie for 102nd out of a field of 156 players.

"I played OK (Thursday)," Crawford said. "I'm going to take more positives than negatives out of the round. I played really well for 14 holes and just had a few bad swings on the other four holes."

Indeed, Thursday morning started nervously for the former Drexel golf standout. On the opening par-5 first hole, he snap-hooked his drive into the weeds out of bounds to the left, resulting in a double bogey. Three holes later, he chipped one shot over the back of the fourth green and took another double-bogey, placing him 4-over through four holes. 

Although bogeys might keep many of us alive in our weekend matches, it doesn't cut it in a U.S. Open. Crawford responded well in the ensuing 14 holes, going 1-under in that stretch.

Crawford's coach Mike Dynda, who teaches him at LuLu Country Club in Glenside, Pennsylvania, said he makes a big point to prepare Crawford's mind for his big rounds.

"I texted him last night and said, 'When you got to sleep, imagine that you're on the 18th hole and you have a putt for 9-under,'" Dynda said. "It's important to go to sleep and dream like that."

On the other side, Dynda — who taught the golf team at Drexel from 2003-2015 — also told his pupil to stay away from expectations. When you're 23 and you're playing in your second consecutive U.S. Open, one might think it would be easy to get ahead of yourself. Not so with Crawford, according to Dynda.

"I've taught him to not have any expectations for the five years we've been together," Dynda said. 

Crawford had a superstar practice round on Monday, playing with Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk and Wisconsin's own Steve Stricker.

"It was a lot of fun playing with those guys and just watching them strategize about learning a brand new U.S. Open course," Crawford said. "I think that's the biggest thing I was impressed with, was the way they talked about strategy on this golf course.

"They were all very nice with me and were very specific to ask about me and they wanted to learn a little bit about my life, so I appreciated that."

For Dynda, talking with Furyk brought back a fond memory. Furyk's father, Mike, actually sold Dynda his first set of golf clubs, Tommy Armor 845s, back in Philadelphia years ago. 

With one round in the books and the forecast calling for rain this weekend, Crawford was looking forward to having the proper mentality as he headed into Friday's second round.

"I want to go out there and just not get ahead of myself," Crawford said. "I'm going to think positively and appreciate that I'm playing in the national open."

Crawford teed off at 2:31 p.m. local time off of the 10th hole.

"This week is so cool because I never do something like this," Crawford said. "Playing in front of such large crowds is a treat and I just love the interaction with the fans before and after the rounds as well."

Last year at Oakmont, dozens of friends and family made the drive down the turnpike to see him play in his first U.S. Open. This year, Crawford estimates that he has around 15 friends and family out in the galleries cheering him on. Though coach Dynda caddied last year, those duties have gone to current Drexel golf coach Ben Feld.

It's a party this week of Drexel golf proportions.

Atlantic 10 reveals 2017-18 schedule pairings

Atlantic 10 reveals 2017-18 schedule pairings

Philadelphia basketball fans will be getting a double dip of one of the Atlantic 10 conference's best rivalries once again next season.

With the league's 18-game regular season format in place for a fourth straight year, it was revealed Wednesday afternoon that Saint Joseph's and La Salle will battle twice — once in North Philly at Tom Gola Arena and a second time at the Hawks' home just off City Line Avenue. Each team in the 14-member conference will play eight teams once and five teams twice.

The full pairings for the Explorers and Saint Joe's are listed here:

La Salle
Home: Dayton, George Mason, St. Bonaventure, VCU, Fordham, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis
Away: Davidson, Duquesne, George Washington, Richmond, Fordham, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis

Saint Joseph’s
Home: Dayton, Duquesne, Saint Louis, VCU, Fordham, George Mason, La Salle, Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure
Away: Davidson, George Washington, Rhode Island, Richmond, Fordham, George Mason, La Salle, Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure

It was also rumored earlier in the day that the Hawks have added a Big Five matchup at Temple for Dec. 9.