Jeremiah Robinson-Earl scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as No. 3 Villanova rallied from a nine-point, second-half deficit for a 76-67 victory over Boston College on Wednesday in the 2K Empire Classic at Uncasville, Conn.
The game was the season opener for both teams.
Collin Gillespie scored 15 points while Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels added 14 apiece for the Wildcats, who will face No. 18 Arizona State in the championship game on Thursday. The Sun Devils topped Rhode Island 94-88 in the other Wednesday game.
Jay Heath led Boston College with 16 points while Makai Ashton-Langford added 15 and Wynston Tabbs had 11. Steffon Mitchell pulled down 11 rebounds.
Ashton-Langford knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key as Boston College pushed its lead to 57-48 with 12:48 remaining.
The Wildcats came back with an 11-1 spurt to go back ahead 59-58 on a Gillespie jumper with just under nine minutes left.
Villanova pulled ahead 65-61 with 5:42 remaining following a short jumper by Robinson-Earl.
Daniels and Robinson-Earl each hit tough shots and the Wildcats led 72-66 with two minutes to go, enough of a cushion to propel the Wildcats to the victory.
Villanova jumped out to a 16-9 lead eight minutes into the contest on an 18-foot jumper by Gillespie.
Heath knocked down a deep jumper just inside the 3-point line to pull Boston College within 18-13.
The Eagles continued to slow the pace and eventually used a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 22-19.
From there, Cole Swider hit a trey from the baseline and Jermaine Samuels made a driving layup to extend Villanova's advantage to 27-19.
The game was tied at 34 as both teams headed to the locker room at halftime.
Boston College was aggressive after the break and went ahead 49-41 thanks to a 3-pointer by Rich Kelly.
Villanova responded with a trey by Moore and a dunk by Robinson-Earl to close within 49-46.
--Field Level Media