Bryce Cotton drilled the game-winning 3- pointer with two seconds left as Providence clipped the Villanova Wildcats, 55-52, in Big East Conference action at The Pavilion.
Cotton also grabbed six rebounds and dealt out five assists for Providence (11-11, 3-7 Big East) as it snapped a three-game losing streak. Josh Fortune chipped in 15 points off the bench and Vincent Council handed out six assists.
For Villanova (13-9, 4-5), Darrun Hilliard netted 17 points thanks to a perfect 10-of-10 showing at the free throw line and Mouphtaou Yarou registered a double-double of 10 points and 14 boards. Daniel Echefue pulled down 12 boards as the Wildcats' dropped their fourth decision in a row.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 10-2 lead after Providence made just one of its first eight field goal tries. The Friars eventually found their touch as the hosts went cold and used a 12-0 run to take a two-point lead with just over six minutes before the intermission. Fortune provided a huge spark by scoring 12 points in the opening 20 minutes to held Providence take a 29-23 lead into halftime.
Villanova began the second stanza on a 12-2 run to jump back in front and hold a four-point edge on the scoreboard. Providence took the lead back for good with back-to-back three-pointers by Council and Cotton. The make from beyond the arc gave Cotton his 1,000th career point. Providence extended its lead to nine points before the Wildcats forced five turnovers on five straight possessions with a stifling half-court trap to rally back and tie it up at 52 with 43 seconds left in regulation. Cotton stopped the run by connecting on the tie-breaking 3-pointer from the top of the key. Villanova attempted a full court pass on the ensuing inbounds play, but it lost after it was batted down.
The Friars finished the contest 10-of-15 from beyond the arc while Villanova shot 27.5 percent from the floor and committed 18 turnovers to nine assists.
The win gave Providence the season series sweep of Villanova.