Washington D.C. native, and former Sidwell Friends standout Josh Hart played a big role in No.1 Villanova (10-0) come from behind 74-66 win over No. 23 Notre Dame (9-1) on Saturday afternoon.
Hart finished with a career-high 37 points (10-14 FG), 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals. Gonzaga alumni Kris Jenkins, who hit the game winner in last year’s National Championship game, tallied eight points and was 1-5 from behind the arc.
The Fighting Irish got going early as they took a 17-9 lead during the first six minutes of the game. The Wildcats attempted to make a comeback, but Notre Dame kept finding ways to extend it’s lead.
Notre Dame forward Bonzie Colson, who finished with 11 points, hit a layup to give the Fighting Irish a 35-24 lead with under four minutes left in the first half. That was Notre Dame’s largest lead of the game.
Free throws by Josh Hart in the final minutes of the first half cut Notre Dame’s lead to 41-36.
In the middle of the second half, Notre Dame was up 50-41, and looked like they had all the momentum to pull off an upset.
Josh Hart nailed a three pointer with 10:54 remaining in the game to cut the deficit down to 54-51. The Fighting Irish went up by five then the Wildcats scored six straight points to go up 57-56.
Both teams went back, and forth until Villanova was able to pull away in the final minutes of the game. Hart scored 12 of his team’s last 14 points.
Hart is currently averaging 17.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game this season. He made a strong case for the Wooden Award after his big time performance.