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No. 2 Villanova wins Big East tourney, 74-60 over Creighton

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NEW YORK — Josh Hart scored 29 points and No. 2 Villanova beat Creighton 74-60 on Saturday to win the Big East Tournament and probably lock up the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Hart, the conference player of the year, became just the third player to win the tournament MVP award twice, joining Patrick Ewing of Georgetown and Peyton Siva of Louisville.

Villanova (31-3) played Villanova basketball, just as the Wildcats did last season in winning the national championship. Good defense, sharing the ball and making 3-pointers is the formula that has led them to four consecutive Big East regular-season titles.

This was their third Big East Tournament crown, the others coming in 1995 and 2015.

The Wildcats had their hands on so many Creighton passes, they forced 17 turnovers that led to 21 points. And with Hart leading the way, they made every big shot they needed.

Jalen Brunson added 17 points for Villanova. Kris Jenkins, whose 3-pointer won the national championship game last year, had 14.

Cole Huff and Marcus Foster each scored 13 points to lead Creighton (25-9).

Villanova, which lost last season’s Big East championship game to Seton Hall, closed the first half on a 25-11 run to go up 36-22. Hart had 12 points in the spurt and Brunson added eight. The two combined to score the Wildcats’ final 20 points in the semifinals.

The lead reached 46-26, and the closest the Bluejays got the rest of the way was 12.

Hart, who along with Brunson defended Foster, scored every way imaginable, from 3-pointers to acrobatic drives. He finished the tournament with 63 points and was 21 of 41 from the field. The 29 points marked his third-highest total of the season.

Creighton was 2 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half and the Bluejays committed 10 turnovers, only 2.3 fewer than they averaged per game this season.

The title game was played before a sellout crowd of 19,812 at Madison Square Garden, which hosted the tournament for the 35th consecutive year.

BIG PICTURE

Creighton: The Bluejays’ only other championship game appearance was in 2014 when they lost to Providence. … Creighton lost three of four games coming into the tournament. … The Bluejays beat Providence 70-53 in the quarterfinals and Xavier 76-72 in the semifinals. … The 14-point halftime deficit was Creighton’s largest of the season, and its 22 points were five fewer than its previous low for the season.

Villanova: The Wildcats swept the season series with Creighton, winning by 10 and 16 points. … Villanova beat St. John’s 108-67 in the quarterfinals and Seton Hall 55-53 in the semifinals. … The Wildcats came into the game 2-2 in Big East championship games.

NOT FREE

The game’s first free throw was taken with 4:30 left in the first half.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Jenkins, Brunson, Foster, Angel Delgado of Seton Hall and Trevon Bluiett of Xavier comprised the all-tournament team.

UP NEXT

Creighton: Will wait to hear where it is headed in the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday.

Villanova: Should hear its name called first when the brackets are announced.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.