PHILADELPHIA — Tyreek Duren scored seven of his 23 points in overtime, including the go-ahead layup with 18.2 seconds left, as La Salle defeated Villanova 77-74 Sunday.
Duren sent the game to overtime with a game-tying 26-foot 3-pointer with six seconds left in regulation. Ramon Galloway scored a game-high 26 points for La Salle (3-1), which snapped a 10-game losing streak to their in-state rival.
“I thought our guys showed tremendous resilience,” La Salle coach John Giannini said. “They’re a great program and, of course, that’s a bar you want to reach and we got there.”
Mouphtaou Yarou scored 20 points and JayVaughn Pinkston had 19 for the Wildcats (3-3), who led by as many as 11 points in the second half.
“It was a great college basketball game, fun to be a part of,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “It was a classic Big 5 game and classic example of one team executing down the stretch and another team not executing. We have to learn from this and take responsibility that (we) didn’t execute.”
Yarou’s short jumper put Villanova ahead 74-70 with 2 minutes, 24 seconds left in overtime. But La Salle scored the next three points, on Galloway’s free throw and Rohan Brown’s layup, to pull within 74-73 with 58 seconds left. Villanova turned it over on its next possession and Duren scored off an assist from D.J. Peterson to seal the win for La Salle.
“All I thought in my mind was I was going to miss it, that’s how wide-open I was,” Duren said. “That’s exactly how (Giannini) drew it up, but I didn’t think I was going to be that open.”
Said Giannini, “We set it up, but it doesn’t always work. Coaches get way too much credit and way too much blame.”
It didn’t even look like La Salle would get a chance to win it.
Villanova controlled the game for most of the second half, but couldn’t break away from the Explorers. Ryan Arcidiacono could have put the Wildcats up four points late, but he made one of two free throws with 25 seconds left to make it 67-64.
Duren quickly dribbled up the court and looked to pass. But when he found no one open, the junior point guard launched a step-back 3-pointer from deep.
“I was looking to pass it but then I looked at the clock and just shot it,” Duren said.
Wright praised Duren.
“He was awesome, that’s what great point guards do,” Wright said. “I thought he was great. I thought he controlled the game. There were a lot of times when we were trying to make him take a tough shot and he didn’t take a tough shot and finished at the rim.”
The win was a boost for La Salle, which lost tight games in each of the last two seasons to the Wildcats.
“It means everything, especially because I’ve been here we had them up,” Duren said. “It was very important to crack the losing streak.”
Said Galloway, “It’s the greatest feeling ever, especially being from Philly. It was the greatest win ever. They fought hard. We just wanted it more.”
Pinkston had the last chance for Villanova, but the sophomore lost track of the score and tried to drive the lane rather than pull-up for a potentially game-tying 3-pointer. He said he lost track of the time and score.
“But I feel good because I know we played hard, but we didn’t play smart,” Pinkston said. “Just little things at the end.”
Villanova took its biggest lead early in the second half when James Bell’s 3-pointer put the Wildcats ahead 42-31 with just over 16 minutes left. But the Explorers scored 15 of the next 19 points, capped by Steve Zack’s free throw, over 4:44 to tie it at 46 with 11:32 remaining.
It was tight down the stretch, with neither team leading by more than four points in the final six minutes. La Salle could never take the lead despite several chances to go in front. It looked like Villanova had the game won before Duren’s long 3-pointer.
The Explorers led by eight, 21-13, on Jerrell Wright’s layup with 10:09 left in the first half. But Villanova ran off 19 of the next 23 points over nearly eight minutes, capped by Achraf Yacoubou’s short jumper to go in front 32-23 with 2:38 remaining before halftime.