PHILADELPHIA Villanova's only lead came on the shot that mattered most: the Wildcats' last one.
Malcolm Grant converted a four-point play and scored 13 points over the final three minutes, and Dante Cunningham scored the game-winner with 5.9 seconds left as the 25th-ranked Wildcats rallied from a 21-point deficit to stun LSU 68-67 on Thursday night in the Big East/SEC Invitational.
The Wildcats (6-1) seemed out of it after LSU dominated almost the entire game and most of the crowd had to started to leave. Instead, Villanova gave those who stuck around one to remember, rallying from the 21-point lead over the final eight minutes.
And it was all because of Grant, a 6-foot reserve guard.
Grant finished with 18 points, and Cunningham had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Marcus Thornton led LSU (5-3) with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Terry Martin hit four 3s to help the Tigers build the early lead and finished with 14 points.
The Wildcats' return to the Top 25 appeared short-lived. Their shooting absolutely deserted them from all over the court and their starting backcourt couldn't hit anything. Even the normally loyal, wine-and-cheese Wildcat faithful had turned on their favorite team with boos.
He converted a four-point play and came right back down and hit another 3-pointer that cut LSU's lead to 56-53. The Wildcats forced a turnover at midcourt and scored a layup and suddenly they had a pulse.
Grant made four more free throws that pulled the Wildcats within three. Then he was amazingly fouled again on a 3-point attempt. This time the basket was no good, but he made all three from the line and LSU, which had led 54-33, was clinging to a 67-66 lead.
Grant tried to win it for the Wildcats on their last possession, but he missed a shot from the right side. Cunningham was there with the rebound layup that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Villanova played fast and loose with the ball four turnovers in the first four minutes, seven in the half and missed 15 of its first 20 shots. The guard play that has long been a strength under coach Jay Wright went missing. The Wildcats got 12 straight points in one stretch out of the frontcourt and their defense left LSU's 3-point shooters wide open.
Martin hit two 3s already and no Wildcat was anywhere near him when he nailed one from the left side for a 32-18 lead. The Tigers led 35-24 at halftime.
When the Wildcats trailed by 14 early in the second, Scottie Reynolds and Reggie Redding were a combined 3-for-19.
LSU seemed to thwart any hope of a late rally. Martin hit a jumper just inside the 3-point line midway through the second half, then came right back and made one from behind the line to push LSU's lead to 54-33.
The Wildcats managed to chip away and make it 55-41, but Garrett Temple hit a 3 and then a driving layup for a 19-point lead.
That was the last time LSU could celebrate.
No. 13 BUTLER 53, DETROIT 46: At Detroit, Detroit found out there's more to No. 13 Butler than its seniors. The Titans kept the Bulldogs' veteran perimeter players in check but rarely had an answer for freshman center Matt Howard, who had 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in a 53-46 victory over Detroit in the Horizon League opener for both teams. Julian Betko had a late 3-pointer Butler's only successful shot from behind the arc in the second half to keep the Bulldogs (8-0) unbeaten.