NEW YORK -- Villanova defended, rebounded, took care of the basketball. They just kept missing shots.
Boy, did they ever keep missing shots.
A day after a record-setting 21-point win over Rutgers in the Big East Conference tourney first round, Villanova trailed by double-digits less than four minutes in, made only one basket in the first 6 12 minutes, never got any closer than five and lost to South Florida, 56-47, in a second-round game at Madison Square Garden.
Against one of the top defensive teams in the nation, Villanova didnt score consecutive baskets until seven minutes into the second half.
Villanova shot 17-for-50 (34 percent) from the field and 3-for-16 from three. USF shot 16-for-38 (42 percent) and 2-for-10.
"I thought South Florida's defense was outstanding, Villanova coach Jay Wright sad. That's not a surprise to anyone that's seen them this year. I know they're going to do damage in the NCAA Tournament because they play a style that is very, very difficult to play against.
We were down 10 at halftime, and down 10 to them is like 20, 25 to somebody else because of the way they control the tempo."
Junior pivot Mouphtaou Yarou made eight of 13 shots for a team-high 20 points, including a rare three that brought the Wildcats within five with a minute to go. The rest of the Wildcats were a combined 9-for-37.
We did get some good looks, but part of it is they kind of sucker you into settling for jump shots, Wright said. I thought early in the game we just settled for jumpers. We didn't get the ball inside, we didn't drive the ball, and therefore they were shooting free throws the whole first half and we were shooting jumpers.
Villanova scored 35 points in the first 38 minutes. They scored 12 in the final 1:40.
Still, the 47 points is the Wildcats' second-fewest ever in their 62 Big East tournament games. They lost to Georgetown, 46-41, in 2003.
Its also their fewest points in any game since they lost at Pitt, 59-45, in 2004.
This is the second consecutive year USF has knocked Villanova out of the Big East tourney. The Bulls 70-69 win last year was an upset -- USF was seeded 15th. This year, USF is seeded sixth and Villanova 14th.
South Florida, which beat Nova by 14 and 17 points during the regular season, is the first team to beat Villanova three times in the same year since UConn in 2002.
Well, it's hard to beat a team three times, USF coach Stan Heath said. Villanova, they're very aggressive, and it's hard to run anything. But our defense is what's got us here where we are right now, and we've got to hang our hat on it. I'm really proud of the effort the guys gave out there on the court.
The loss was Villanovas 19th this year, matching the most in the history of a program that dates back 92 years. Villanova also lost 19 games in 1974 (7-19 in Rollie Massaminos first year as coach) and in 1993 (8-19 in Steve Lappass first year as coach).
Villanova is 13-19 and for the first time since 1998 wont be playing in the NIT or NCAA but is still a possible for the CBI, the College Basketball Invitational, which has a history of inviting big-conference teams with losing records.
South Florida improved to 20-12 and has won 13 of 18 since opening the season 7-7. The Bulls will face No. 3 seed Notre Dame at 9:30 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals, with the winner advancing to Fridays semis against the Marquette-Louisville winner.
South Florida led 19-6 after eight minutes. Villanova got as close as five twice.
All-conference junior guard Maalik Wayns, who set a Villanova Big East tourney record with 28 points Tuesday night in the Wildcats win over Rutgers, missed his first nine shots and didnt make a basket until 3 12 minutes into the second half.
Hes a great player, and he's fun to watch when you're not coaching against him, Heath said. You know, Anthony (Collins) I thought did a fantastic job just staying in front of him and not allowing him to get to the basket or get some clean looks, and as time went on, we were able to switch and put Hugh Robertson, a little bit longer defender on him.
Wayns finished with nine points on 3-for-14 from the field and 0-for-6 from three.
Yeah, I got my shot, I just didn't hit it today unfortunately, Wayns said. This is the tournament. You have a bad day, you go home.
Yarou scored Villanovas first eight points, and nobody else had a basket until JayVaughn Pinkston made a driving layup with 6 12 minutes left in the first half.
Dominic Cheek, Villanovas second-leading scorer this year at 12.8 points per game, scored just six points in the tournament. He shot 1-for-8 from the field in the two games and 0-for-4 from three.
One day after allowing Rutgers 15 points in the second half, Villanova scored a season-low 17 points in the first half. The Wildcats shot 5-for-25 and 0-for-7 before halftime.
Collins led USF with 17 points and Victor Rudd Jr. added 13.