PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Emeka Okafor waited until the perfect moments for his only blocks of the game.
Okafor came up with blocks on Randy Foye at the end of regulation and overtime as No. 8 Connecticut held on for a 75-74 victory over Villanova in a Big East Conference thriller.
Villanova (14-13, 6-8 Big East) had a chance to snap a 66-66 tie at the end of the second half when Foye tried to go the length of the court. But Okafor stepped in and snuffed his layup attempt as time expired.
"The first block, I was just thinking no layup," Okafor said. "I saw him coming down the lane. He took his shot and I got my hand on it."
The Wildcats went for the win with five seconds left in the game and Foye once again drove and challenged the Huskies' All-American candidate. Okafor, who played despite painful back spasms, again came up huge by rising up and stifling Foye's attempt at the win as Connecticut (23-5, 11-3) celebrated its fourth straight win.
"And the second time, I saw it was gonna be one-on-one, just me and him," said Okafor, who averages 4.7 blocks. "I knew he was gonna cross me up at some point. I was trying to anticipate and my foot slipped.
"I saw him go up for a dunk and I was able to recover and just stop him at the last second. I wasn't even thinking. I just reacted."
Okafor finished with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go with six rebounds.
"We were saved by the best player in the country, far and away," Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said. "Played on a very bad back, which we have to re-evaluate tomorrow."
"I didn't even know he was hurt," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "If he was, he played great."
A see-saw extra session featured seven lead changes. Connecticut freshman Josh Boone tipped in Ben Gordon's miss with five seconds to go for the final margin.
"I knew even if I missed, we'd have several players around," Gordon said. "Josh Boone was there and got the tip."
Gordon led the Huskies with 21 points and also turned in a huge play near the end of regulation.
With UConn facing a 66-63 deficit in the final seconds, Gordon drove the right baseline and drew a pair of defenders before hooking a pass behind him to Rashad Anderson behind the arc. Anderson's 3-pointer made it 66-66 with seven seconds remaining in regulation.
Curtis Sumpter scored eight of his 22 points in overtime for Villanova, including a fallaway over Shamon Tooles with 19 seconds left for a 74-73 edge. Allan Ray netted 20 points for the Wildcats, who have dropped five out of six.