If you checked out the numbers after Villanova’s game against No. 10 Marquette before a fired-up sellout crowd at Finneran Pavilion, you would see the shooting percentage almost identical to what the Wildcats had been doing during their three-game losing streak.

The Cats shot 34.5 percent from the floor and 28.1 percent from three-point range. In their previous three games, all defeats on the road at St. John’s, Georgetown and Xavier, those figures had been 35.4 percent from the field and 27.5 percent from the arc.

But there was much more to Villanova’s game Wednesday night that just shooting. The effort on defense and under the boards carried them in a decisive stretch where they outscored the Golden Eagles 12-1 in the final five minutes behind Jermaine Samuels and Phil Booth and captured a 67-61 victory.

The win meant a lot to the Wildcats (21-8, 12-4 Big East). They avenged a 66-65 loss to the Golden Eagles (23-5, 12-3) on Feb. 9 in Milwaukee. They drew to within a half-game of them and stayed alive in their quest for the conference regular-season championship and a No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament.

But on a night when Booth went 3 of 18 and Eric Paschall went 2 of 9 and scored a season-low four points, the Wildcats had what it took on Senior Night to win for the first time in two weeks.

“It was our defense,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “We got a lot of big-time stops, definitely down the stretch. But when we had stretches when we weren’t scoring, it didn’t affect our defense. I thought the last two games, we’re playing well, we’re playing right in there, right in there, and then we’re on a stretch when we don’t make shots and then we stop playing defense.

“I thought that was a big difference tonight. I think that’s where Phil and Eric were just amazing, just keeping our guys focused defensively. We’ve got young guys and they get affected by missing shots but the older guys don’t, and they did a great job.”

Booth finished with 17 points, making all 10 of his free-throw attempts, and added seven assists. Four of his free throws came in the closing 12-1 run.

The Wildcats received an unexpected boost from Samuels, whose career-high 29 points was more than the 26 he had scored in his previous 10 games combined. He added nine rebounds, and grabbed five of the Cats’ 15 offensive boards.

Samuels has been a reluctant shooter; his previous high had been seven field-goal tries before he went 10 of 19 against Marquette.

“The ball comes our way,” the 6-foot-7 sophomore said. “I just tried to think about my teammates most of all, before anything else, and Coach puts me in position to make plays and see what the defense gives us.”

Marquette trailed by 12 points in the first half and 10 in the second before Markus Howard, the Big East’s leading scorer, got hot. Howard scored 11 of his 25 points in the opening 8 ½ minutes of the second half, giving the Golden Eagles a 51-48 lead.

Howard later was called for a pair of offensive fouls in a 1:24 stretch and went to the bench with four fouls at the 9:28 mark. Marquette responded with a 7-0 run and led 60-55 on Ed Morrow’s layup with 5:14 to play.

“When he left the game, we lost the lead. That’s how crazy the game was,” Wright said.

However, Booth’s only three-pointer of the game broke a dry spell of 4:45 and sparked the Cats’ final surge. Saddiq Bey followed with a three-ball to give his team the lead for good. The Golden Eagles missed their last eight shots and 10 of their last 11.

Their only point came on Howard’s free throw, making it 63-61 with 23.9 seconds left, but Booth and Samuels hit a pair of free throws apiece to ice it.

“Making shots doesn’t really matter,” Booth said. “If we get stops and rebound, that really matters, that really changes the game. We (Booth and Paschall) didn’t shoot the ball well and we’re fine with that as long as we’re getting stops and defending and rebounding. That’s all we really care about.”