Associated Press

Jay Wright breaks 57-year-old Villanova record

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Jay Wright breaks 57-year-old Villanova record

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NEW YORK — Jay Wright was raised on 1980s Big East basketball. He loves the big games that always made this time of the year special at Madison Square Garden with powerhouses like Georgetown, Syracuse and St. John's leading the charge.

Wright knows greed and defections means those days are long gone.

But here's what Wright understands, as well: this reinvented Big East is pretty good at making its own memorable March memories.

Wright became the winningest coach in Villanova history with 414, and the No. 2 Wildcats opened defense of their Big East Tournament championship in a 94-70 win over Marquette on Thursday night.

Wright improved to 414-165 since he took the job in 2001 and has led the Wildcats to the 2009 Final Four and 2016 national championship. He was tied with Al Severance, who went 413-201 from 1936-1961.

He's alone atop the record book — and should put the total far out of reach.

"I'm mostly proud to be the coach of Villanova, honestly," Wright said. "The wins and everything don't matter. I know I'll look back on it later."

Take a look at what's happening now — the Wildcats (28-4) took control in the second half and showed why their third tournament title in four years is within reach. Mikal Bridges hit four 3s and scored 25 points and Big East player of the year Jalen Brunson scored 21. The Wildcats made 15 of 29 3s — a stunning 11 of 17 in the second half.

Villanova is the No. 2 team in the AP Top 25 — and the tournament. Xavier won the Big East and earned the top seed even though it lost twice this season to the Wildcats.

They seem poised to make it a trilogy in Saturday's final.

"This is pretty cool," Wright said. "I'm excited where this league is right now."

Fresh off a blowout loss, even Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski had to admit the fact that Xavier and Villanova could both earn No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament was a boon for the league.

"Both teams have a great chance to win the national championship," he said.

The Wildcats blew this game open early in the second half against the seventh-seeded Golden Eagles (19-13). Brunson hit a 3 to open a 10-point lead and Booth nailed one to make it a 15-point game.

Then the Wildcats just got 3-point silly: Phil Booth, Eric Paschall, Omari Spellman, Brunson, Spellman again and Bridges all hit 3s on six straight scores to turn this into a rout and break out the "Let's Go Nova!" chants.

"After the game, everyone was talking about shooting," Brunson said. "Now that I look back at it, yeah, we were really shooting well, but that was the last thing on my mind. We really were just trying to focus on defending and rebounding and playing for each other."

Markus Howard scored 23 points and Andrew Rowsey had 22 for Marquette. Rowsey had tears running down his cheeks as he sat on the bench in the final minutes.

The Wildcats missed eight of their first 10 3-point attempts before they decided to attack the lane for easy buckets and get the juice going in their offense. Donte DiVincenzo hit a 3 and Bridges converted a four-point play for a five-point lead. Bridges was also fouled on a tough basket underneath for a three-point play. He scored 16 points in the half and flashed the skills that made him an All-Big East pick.

The Golden Eagles, who needed the win to stay in NCAA Tournament contention, were a two-shooter show. Howard and Rowsey combined for seven 3s and 24 of Marquette's 34 points. Howard and Rowsey would fire off 3s from about any spot on the court — and made just about all of them.

Then they became the latest team to run into the Villanova buzzsaw.

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Marquette: The Golden Eagles were doomed by a four-game losing streak in a six of eight streak that knocked them out of NCAA contention.

"I think our team is capable of winning games in the NCAA Tournament," Wojciechowski said.

Villanova: Wright led the Wildcats, who won the 1985 national title under his mentor Rollie Massimino, to their greatest run of success in program history. They've won at least 32 games each of the previous three seasons and he's led them to the NCAAs all but one year (2012) since 2005. Hired in 2001 to replace Steve Lappas, Wright took the Wildcats to unprecedented success

Up next
Marquette will likely miss the NCAA Tournament and hope for a second-tier postseason bid.

The Wildcats swept Seton Hall and went 1-1 vs. Butler.

Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow help Heat snap skid

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Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow help Heat snap skid

MIAMI — Tyler Johnson scored 23 points to lead six players in double figures, and the Miami Heat stopped a three-game slide when they beat the reeling Memphis Grizzlies 115-89 on Saturday night.

The Grizzlies lost their ninth game in a row, the longest active streak in the NBA, and their second in as many nights.

Justise Winslow scored a season-high 17 points for the Heat. Reserve Wayne Ellington went 5 for 10 from 3-point range and scored 15.

Miami's Dwyane Wade was limited to 18 minutes by foul trouble and scored six points. But the Heat, scrambling for a playoff berth, still managed to win for only the second time in the past 10 games.

Andrew Harrison scored 17 points for the Grizzlies, who played without leading scorer Tyreke Evans. He'll undergo a precautionary MRI Sunday on his injured right ribs.

The Heat took the lead for good at 28-26. Their margin reached 92-70 by the end of the third quarter.

Miami outscored Memphis 50-30 in the paint, 13-2 on fast breaks and 26-8 off turnovers (see full recap).

Irving's 31 powers Celtics past Knicks
NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving had 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, leading the Boston Celtics over the New York Knicks 121-112 on Saturday for their second victory in two nights since the All-Star break.

Irving scored 15 points in a dazzling third quarter and then helped the Celtics finish it off with his passing in the fourth, highlighted by a behind-the-back dish to Jaylen Brown for a dunk that made it 115-106.

Brown had 24 points for the Celtics, who went into the break with three straight losses but came back with a victory in Detroit on Friday.

Trey Burke scored 26 points off the bench for the second straight game for the Knicks, but they couldn't win this one after beating Orlando on Thursday to end an eight-game skid.

Irving was just 1 for 6 behind the arc in the first half but showed no lack of confidence in the third. He scored 14 straight Boston points, hitting four 3-pointers and pushing the ball right at the Knicks.

His last 3-pointer in that spurt gave the Celtics a 10-point lead, but the Knicks chipped away while he rested and it was a two-point game by the time he returned with 8:14 remaining.

Irving soon made another 3, and passed to Al Horford for a 3 that pushed the lead back to double digits.

Horford finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds (see full recap).

Warriors avenge pair of blowout losses to OKC
OAKLAND, Calif. — Kevin Durant scored 28 points for Golden State while avenging an embarrassing home loss to his former Oklahoma City team earlier this month and another on the road in November, leading the Warriors past the Thunder 112-80 on Saturday night.

Stephen Curry added 21 points with five 3-pointers, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals as Golden State put on the kind of defensive performance coach Steve Kerr has been seeking from the defending champs.

Russell Westbrook had 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Oklahoma City, which failed to reach 100 points for the first time in the last five games. The Thunder had scored at least 100 in 14 of their last 16.

Durant's pretty layup off a perfect pass by Curry with 3:06 left in the third put the Warriors up 75-66. That was part of a 37-11 Golden State run that included 30 points over the final 8:48 of the third -- when Zaza Pachulia subbed in to relieve JaVale McGee.

The Warriors held Paul George to five points. George's 3-pointer at the 7:52 mark of the third with Durant's hand in his face was his first basket after going 0 for 9 to begin the game. He finished 1 for 14 after going off for 38 points in the last meeting when Oklahoma City left Oracle Arena with a 125-105 rout on Feb. 6.

Golden State also lost at OKC by 17 on Nov. 22 (see full recap).

Damage reported as some Eagles fans take celebration too far

Damage reported as some Eagles fans take celebration too far

The city was cleaning up Monday after pockets of Super Bowl victory celebrations turned unruly overnight, with rowdy Eagles fans smashing department store windows, looting a gas station convenience store and toppling a number of the city's famously greased light poles.

The vast majority of revelers celebrated peacefully, and only three arrests were made, said Ajeenah Amir, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney.

"Tens of thousands came out and celebrated this amazing victory, and but for a handful of bad actors the celebration was peaceful and jubilant," Amir said. She lauded police for "their assistance in getting the crowds dispersed and people home safely."

Just as Nick Foles and the Eagles clinched a surprising 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Minneapolis for the team's first Super Bowl title Sunday night, the scene more than 1,000 miles away in Philly was jubilation and pandemonium.

As time expired, crowds spilled into the streets to celebrate the Eagles' first NFL championship since 1960.

Revelers shot off fireworks, drivers beeped their horns and Philadelphians young and old descended on Broad Street.

Some of the pockets of unruly fans clambered atop the awning at the swanky Ritz Carlton Hotel near City Hall. At least a dozen people who climbed on top of an awning, which toppled to the street when the structure collapsed Sunday night.

Videos posted to social media showed fans scaling the vinyl and metal blue awning and then jumping off.

Eventually, when a number of people climbed onto the structure at the same time, it folded in on itself.

Warning: the video below contains profanity.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BezXG0JhiQX/?taken-by=reeta_theblackbeauty

Nearby, windows were smashed at a Macy's department store and at an Old Navy clothing store.

And apparently no amount of grease in the world can keep some drunken Eagles fans from climbing poles in celebration. A few managed to shimmy up traffic lights and street sign poles.

Amir said there were reports of some injuries from falls near light poles but no exact numbers were available.

Vandals were seen having an apparent food fight inside a gas station's convenience store, yelling "Everything is free!" and overturning a car outside a hotel. After 1 a.m., the only people allowed inside the 24-hour Wawa convenience store near City Hall were police officers.