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NCAA Tournament game recap: Villanova holds off Saint Mary’s for 61-57 opening round victory

Nine years later--almost to the exact date of the last Villanova Wildcats-Saint Mary’s Gaels NCAA Tournament meeting--the Wildcats were able to prevent history from repeating itself.

The 11th-seeded Gaels made it no easy task, however, but the No. 6-seed Wildcats managed to hold them off in the closing minutes of the game, surviving and advancing with a 61-57 win.

Villanova trailed by two at halftime, with a deep Malik Fitts jumper giving Saint Mary’s the slight edge heading into halftime.

After the break, the Wildcats played with renewed focus and intensity, especially on the defensive end.