NEW YORK – James Bell hit two 3-pointers in overtime after going 1 for 8 from beyond the arc in regulation, and Villanova beat Purdue 89-81 on Thursday night in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.
Villanova scored the last six points of regulation – all on free throws – to tie the game at 75.
The Wildcats (3-0) will face Alabama in Friday night’s championship game. The Crimson Tide beat Oregon State 65-62.
Darrun Hilliard set his career high for the second straight game, finishing with 22 points for Villanova. Freshman Ryan Arcidiacono had 18 points for the Wildcats and Bell added 16.
Bell hit his first 3 to break the 75-all tie and his second made it 83-79 with 2 minutes left. That started a 9-0 run that gave the Wildcats the win in Madison Square Garden.
D.J. Byrd had 16 points for the Boilermakers (1-2). Terone Johnson added 13, and Ronnie Johnson had 12 points and nine assists.
The officials went to the replay monitors twice in the final 43 seconds of regulation. One call went in Villanova’s favor, the other didn’t.
Villanova had cut its deficit to 75-71 when Byrd was trapped on the sideline and was called for an offensive foul. It was his fifth personal foul and the officials went to the monitor, ruling that Byrd threw an elbow into the face of Hilliard. They made it a flagrant foul.
Hilliard hit two free throws and the Wildcats got the ball. Arcidiacono was fouled and made both shots to tie the game.
Purdue turned the ball over with 7.6 seconds left. Arcidiacono drove to the basket and it appeared the ball was touched by a Purdue player above the rim, but the officials went to the monitor and ruled it was no basket.