No. 3 Villanova beats Providence to reach Big East final

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kris Jenkins scored 21 points and No. 3 Villanova smothered Providence stars Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn on defense, advancing to the Big East championship game with a 76-68 victory Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Ryan Arcidiacono added 15 points and a headlong dive over the press table, landing two or three rows deep Derek Jeter-style. Hobbled center Daniel Ochefu scored all eight of his points in the final 6:41, helping the top-seeded Wildcats (29-4) hold on down the stretch.

They will try to win their second consecutive tournament title when they face the Seton Hall-Xavier winner on Saturday night.

Stars on both sides were shut down in a tightly called game that left both coaches seething at the officials.

Bentil, who scored 38 points in a quarterfinal win over Butler, was held to a season-low three and fouled out midway through the second half. He came in leading the Big East at 21.7 per game.