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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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