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(6) Villanova Fends Off Xavier to Win Big East Championship

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- JayVaughn Pinkston scored eight of his 15 points in the final 3:20 to help No. 6 Villanova fend off Xavier 77-70 Thursday night, clinching its first outright Big East Championship in 32 years.

Darrun Hilliard led Villanova (27-3, 15-2, Big East) with 19 points, while James Bell scored 12 and Ryan Arcidiacono added 11 in the Wildcats' 11th win in 12 games.

Xavier (20-11, 10-8) was playing its first game without starting center Matt Stainbrook, who strained the MCL in his left knee during the team's loss to Seton Hall Monday.

The Musketeers trailed by ten with 9:40 left in the game, but Justin Martin scored nine of his game-high 20 points from that point on, as Xavier whittled the Wildcats' lead to three with 24 seconds remaining. But after that, Josh Hart and Bell both converted two free throws for Villanova and Xavier didn't score again, securing the win for the Wildcats.

This is the first time Villanova has won the Big East title outright since the 1981-82 season.

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