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No. 2 Villanova defeats Penn for 14th straight time
PHILADELPHIA -- Kris Jenkins won last year’s national championship for Villanova with one of the biggest 3-pointers in NCAA history.
And he’s far from finished setting records.
Jenkins scored 22 points, going over 1,000 for his career, while Josh Hart had 12 points and nine assists, leading No. 2-ranked Villanova to a resounding 82-57 victory over Big 5 rival Pennsylvania on Tuesday night at the Palestra.
Jenkins was 7-for-11 from the field while hitting six of his seven 3-point attempts, including several from way beyond the arc.
“He’s grown every year,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said of Jenkins. “The area he’s grown the most is as a defensive player. He’s a better rebounder, a great leader. His shooting is always there.”
Jenkins didn’t seem thrilled at all regarding the latest 1,000-point milestone.
“What does it mean,?” Jenkins asked. “It doesn’t mean much. We have a lot of work to do. And we’ve got to focus on the next game.”
Donte DiVincenzo scored 13 points, Darryl Reynolds had 12 points and eight rebounds and Jalen Brunson scored 11 points for the Wildcats (7-0), who opened the Big 5 portion of their schedule with their 14th straight victory over the Quakers. Three of their next four games will include Saint Joseph‘s, La Salle and Temple.
Mikal Bridges added 10 points for the Wildcats, who have now also won a record 15 straight Big 5 games. Accomplishing the feat at the Palestra is certainly special to Wright.
“It’s just a great place to play, a great atmosphere,” Wright said. “It’s fun playing here. You always cherish every chance you get.”
Penn, which dropped its home opener and fell to 2-3 overall, was paced by Jackson Donahue with 12 points. AJ Brodeur and Darnell Foreman had 10 apiece.
“They move at a great pace,” Foreman said. “They were way better than any team we’ve played so far.”
Villanova starting guard Phil Booth missed his fourth straight game with tendinitis in his left knee. In addition, preseason All-American and Player of the Year candidate Hart didn’t start because he was late for a weightlifting session. DiVincenzo received his first collegiate start in Hart’s place.
The Wildcats continued to extend their lead in the second half, surging ahead 70-43 with about seven minutes left as Jenkins kept converting shots.
Penn’s shooting remained inconsistent (18 for 56) and it could never mount a real threat as Villanova rolled to the win.
“I think we all got a good look at a really good basketball team,” Penn head coach Steve Donahue said. “Not that any of us in this room are surprised. We see them up close and personal at the Palestra and they’re very, very, very impressive. I said this to our guys that the most impressive thing is that they’re engaged in every aspect of the game.”
Villanova knocked down its first six shots and later cruised to a 30-13 lead following an 11-0 spurt.
Leading 40-25 in the waning seconds of the first half, Hart drove coast to coast and threw down a dunk for a 42-25 advantage. Inexplicably, Penn’s bench was whistled for a technical, giving Villanova two more free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Jenkins calmly sank both free throws, which gave him 13 first-half points and pushed his career total to 1,000. Jenkins is the 63rd player in program history to reach this milestone.
The Wildcats led 44-25 at halftime thanks to 60 percent shooting. They finished at 55.1 percent, including 12 for 26 from 3-point range.
NOTES: Penn’s last victory in this series was a 72-58 decision Dec. 10, 2002. ... The Wildcats won their 26th straight November game ... The Quakers dropped to 32-64 all-time against Big East teams. ... Penn head coach Steve Donahue is beginning his second full season. He was previously an assistant with the Quakers for 10 seasons under Fran Dunphy, the current coach at Temple.