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Villanova Wildcats Disarm Xavier Musketeers to Win 88-75

The 5th ranked Villanova Wildcats lacerated the Xavier Musketeers in a Big East match-up at the Pavilion on Wednesday night, January 15th to win by a score of 88-75.

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Villanova raced to a quick 11-2 lead to start the game. A brief flurry by Xavier cut the margin to 14-8. The Wildcats then went on a 20-10 run, sparked by Josh Hart, who scored 7 straight points, to push the lead to 34-18 with 7:28 to play in the first half. Villanova extended its lead to 18 points, 43-25 on a jumper by Ryan Arcidiacono at the 2:21 mark. The half ended with Villanova up by a score of 45-27. The Wildcats shot an impressive 16 of 33, including 9 of 18 from distance in the first half. Villanova had 14 assists against only 3 turnovers. Defensively Villanova forced 8 Xavier turnovers which led to a dozen points. Hart ended the half with 12 points.

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In the second half, just when it looked like the Wildcats were going to run the Musketeers out-of-town, Xavier rallied with an 11-0 run to cut a 23 point lead to 12, 61-49 with 9:49 left in the game. Twice the Musketeers cut Villanova’s lead to 10, the last time on a Triple by J.P. Macura, to make it 72-62. Villanova regrouped and went on an 8-0 run to put the game out reach.

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Villanova got balanced scoring with 5 players scoring in double figures. Arcidiacono topped the Wildcats in scoring with 18 points. He was joined in double figures by Dylan Ennis with 17, Hart with 15, JayVaughn Pinkston with 12, and Darrun Hilliard with 10 points. Villanova shot 28 of 61 from the field (45.9%) including 15 of 34 from long range (45.9%). The Wildcats shot a gaudy 17 of 19 (89.5%) from the free throw line. Villanova out-rebounded Xavier by one, 34-33. Hart grabbed 7 boards to pace the Wildcats. Hilliard and Arcidiacono both had 6 assists. Overall, Villanova had 24 assists versus just 5 turnovers.

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Xavier was led by Matt Stainbrook with 17 points. Macura and Jalen Reynolds pitched in 14 apiece. Dee Davis had a game high 9 assists.

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With the win, Villanova is now 16-1, 4-1 Big East. Xavier dropped to 11-6 overall, 2-3 Big East. Villanova next plays on Saturday night when they travels to the Palestra to play the Penn Quakers. Xavier will host Marquette on Saturday.

[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]

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Villanova Wildcats Exorcise DePaul Blue Demons, Win 81-64

The 8th ranked Villanova Wildcats throttled the Blue Demons of DePaul 81-64 on Saturday afternoon at the Pavilion. Villanova played a near perfect first-half by seizing the lead early and never relinquishing it. A Darrun Hilliard three-pointer put Villanova up 6-5 at the 16:14 mark of the opening half, the start of a 13-0 run that effectively ended any suspense about the outcome of the game.

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DePaul came into the game sitting in sole possession of first place in the Big East with a surprising 3-0 conference record. By the 7:35 mark of the first-half, the Blue Demons trailed Villanova 24-9. Villanova’s aggressive defense caused numerous turnovers which led to 12 points in the opening twenty minutes. The Wildcats also moved and shared the ball extremely well which produced a 18 of 29 shooting (62.1%) effort from the field, including 7 of 12 from long range (58.3%). Villanova had 14 assists against only 2 turnovers as it took a commanding 45-24 lead into the locker room at the end of the first-half.

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In the second half, Villanova continued to dominate DePaul and saw its lead bulge to 34 points with 9:44 remaining in the game. For the first ten minutes of the second-half, Villanova continued to shoot well and stifle the Blue Demons when they had the ball. DePaul finally managed to put some points on the board and narrow the Wildcats final winning margin by outscoring Villanova 29-12 down the stretch.

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Villanova’s leading scorer was Hilliard with 21 points. Joining him in double figures were Ryan Arcidiacono with 14 points and Kris Jenkins with 10. Both JayVaughn Pinkston and Josh Hart netted 9 points. Jenkins was Villanova’s top rebounder with 7, and Pinkston grabbed 6 boards. Overall the Wildcats out-rebounded DePaul 34-32. Villanova had 23 assists against 12 turnovers, most of which came after the outcome was no longer in question. Dylan Ennis topped Villanova with 7 assists.

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DePaul was paced by Tommy Hamilton with 12 points, including 7-7 from the charity stripe. Darrick Wood added 10 points all in the second half. DePaul committed 15 turnovers against 7 assists.

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With the win, the Villanova Wildcats are now 15-1, 3-1 Big East. The Wildcats return to the court on Wednesday, January 14th when they host Xavier at 9pm at the Pavilion. DePaul 9-8, 3-1 Big East, next plays on Tuesday, January 13th when it will host Georgetown.

Watch Villanova Coach Jay Wright’s post-game press conference (along with Hilliard and Arcidiacono) in its entirety here:

[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]

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Villanova Wildcats Top Butler Bulldogs 67-55 To Close Out 2014

The Villanova Wildcats opened the Big East portion of their schedule, and closed out 2014, with a win over the Butler Bulldogs 67-55 at the Pavilion on Saturday afternoon, December 31. The win enabled the Wildcats to equal the best start in program history with their 13th straight victory. The last time Villanova won 13 in a row to start the season was the 1937-38 season.

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The Villanova Wildcats never trailed in the game. Villanova took an 8-2 lead with 16:29 to go in the first half.  Butler briefly knotted the score at 8-8, before Villanova took the lead back permanently with a 15-6 run to make it a 23-14 game with 8:19 left in the opening half. Butler, on the strength of aggressive offensive rebounding, pulled within two points late in the first half. A Daniel Ochefu bucket made it 36-32 at the intermission.

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 Darrun Hilliard, who was scoreless in the first half, scored 7 straight points to open the second half and the 6th ranked Wildcats took control of the game. Once again, Villanova got balanced scoring, with 4 players scoring in double figures, and a solid defensive effort that limited the Bulldogs to 35.5% field goal shooting for the game. In the second half, Villanova’s stingy defense held the Bulldogs to 23 points on 8-29 shooting (27.6%).

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Ryan Arcidiacono led the way for Villanova with 15 points and a strong floor game – 5 assists to 1 turnover. JayVaughn Pinkston added 13 points, Kris Jenkins, off the bench, chipped in a dozen points, and Ochefu scored 10 to go with a team high 9 rebounds. Overall, Villanova hit on 23 of 48 shots from the field  (47.9%). Villanova made 5 of 20 three-point shots (25%), and 16 of 26 free throw tries (61.5%). The Wildcats were out-rebounded 40-29.

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For Butler, Alex Barlow and Andrew Chrabascz each scored 12 points. Kellum Dunham, the Bulldogs leading scorer coming into the game, was held to 10 points. Roosevelt Jones was Butler’s leading rebounder with 9 boards.

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Earlier in the day, Seton Hall beat St. John’s to start the Big East Tip-Off marathon. Villanova 13-0 overall, 1-0 Big East, next plays at Seton Hall on Saturday January 3, 2015 in a noon time game. Butler 10-4 overall, 0-1 Big East, will next play at St. John’s at 4pm on January 3.

[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]

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Villanova Wildcats Pound Temple Owls, Move to 10-0

The Villanova Wildcats (10-0, 3-0 Big 5) beat the Temple Owls (6-4, 2-2 Big 5) 85-62 to clinch a share of the city series crown on Sunday afternoon (December 14) at the Pavilion (in a nationally televised game on Fox Sports 1). As is its norm, Villanova won by sharing the ball, defending tenaciously, and winning the battle on the glass. For the first time this season, Villanova had a player score 20+ points, with both Josh Hart and Darrun Hilliard scoring 20 points to lead the Wildcats to a convincing win. Hart, who comes off of the bench, also chipped in 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a blocked shot (sorry, no partridge in a pear tree).

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Villanova took charge of the game in the early going and led most of the way. Temple battled hard, but Villanova’s balance and effort proved to be the difference. In the first half, Hart was scintillating, hitting every shot he took , both from the field and the free-throw line. After Temple grabbed a 4-2 lead, Villanova went on a 13-0 run to take control of the game. Temple had a brief spurt to make it a 17-12 game, but Villanova slowly began to pull away. At the half, the Villanova Wildcats were up 39-26.

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In the second half, the Wildcats continued to pad their lead – pushing it to 24 points with 7:16 remaining. Temple made a last gasp run to close the margin to 73-59 with 4:39 to go.  Villanova however, regained control and pushed its lead back up to win going away by the final margin 85-62.

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JayVaughn Pinkston with 12 points, and Daniel Ochefu with 10, joined Hart and Hilliard in double figures. Dylan Ennis and Ryan Arcidiacono each had 7 points, and freshman Phil Booth added 8 to the Wildcats cause. Ochefu added 5 rebounds to help Villanova win the rebounding battle 34-31. Ennis and Hart each had 3 assists, as Villanova collected 14 assists against 10 turnovers. Overall Villanova shot 27-51 (52.9%) from the field, including 9-15 (60%) from beyond the arc, and 22-27 (81.5%) from the charity stripe.

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Quenton DeCosey paced the Owls scoring with 18 points, on 4 of 16 shooting. Will Cummings added  14, on 4 of 14 shooting. Freshman Obi Enechionya chipped in 10 points and 6 rebounds. Jaylen Bonds was the Owls leading rebounder with 7. Cummings had 4 assists.

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Villanova returns to action on Saturday, December 20 when it hosts former Big East rival Syracuse at 12:30 at the Wells Fargo Center. Temple next plays on Thursday, December 18th when it travels to Delaware to play the Blue Hens.

[Photo credit: Michael Green Photography]

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Villanova Topples Lehigh 77-66 at PPL Center

The Villanova Wildcats overcame a horrendous first-half shooting performance, and a six point deficit early in the second half, to subdue the Lehigh Mountain Hawks 77 -66 at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA on Friday night (November 14). The game was the regular season opener for both teams in the 2014-2015 season. The game was the first college basketball game ever played at the new PPL Center, which opened in September. This was the first time the Wildcats hosted a game at a site other than the Pavilion or the Wells Fargo Center since 2005-2006, when Villanova defeated Rider in Trenton, NJ.

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The Mountain Hawks (of the Patriot League) were paced by Tim Kempton and Austin Price, and led a good portion of the first half. Lehigh hit 8 of its first 12 field goal attempts in the early goings. In contrast, The Wildcats were shooting mostly blanks in the first half, hitting on only 4 of their first 19 shots from the field (including a dismal 2 of 13 from three-point range). In particular, Darrun Hilliard, who played for Liberty High School in nearby Bethlehem, PA, had a rough shooting night. Hilliard hit 2 of 11 field goal attempts in the first half, missing all six of his attempts from distance. Nevertheless, the Wildcats went to the locker room at the intermission leading 32-30, mostly because of their hustling defensive effort.

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At the start of the second half, Lehigh went on a 13-6 run, with Price doing most of the damage with his 3 buckets (including 2 triples), to regain the lead, 43-38 with 16:18 left to play.

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Villanova then went on an 11-2 run to retake the lead 54-50 . The charge was highlighted by a Hilliard trey which knotted the score at 48 apiece. Following a Dylan Ennis three pointer, the Wildcats lead bulged to 62-53 with 7:33 remaining. Ennis finished the night as the Wildcats scoring leader with 19 points.

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Lehigh cut the Wildcats margin to four, 62-58, with 4:18 remaining on the clock. However, the Wildcats were able to pull away, building their lead to 16 (76-60), with under a minute to play.

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Villanova shot a more respectable 48.4% in the second half hitting on 15 of 31 field goal attempts. The Wildcats also hit 5 of 10 three-point shots in the second half. In addition to Ennis, Ryan Arcidiacono with 16 points, JayVaughn Pinkston with 11, and Hilliard with 10, scored in double figures for the Wildcats. Villanova out-rebounded Lehigh 40-33. Daniel Ochefu grabbed 9 rebounds, with Arcidiacono and Josh Hart each pulling down 7 boards. Ennis and Arcidiacono were the leaders in the assist category – both with 5. Villanova ended up with 16 assists against 9 turnovers.

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For the Mountain Hawks, Kempton had a double-double, 15 points and 10 boards. Price was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points on 10 of 17 shooting (4 of 7 from long range). Lehigh’s assist leader was point guard Kahron Ross with 7.

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Villanova returns to action on Monday night, November 17th at 7pm at the Pavilion when they entertain the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Lehigh next plays when it hosts Canisius on November 18.

[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]

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