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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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