Freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lift No. 10 Villanova past Army 97-54 in the season opener for both schools on Tuesday.
Saddiq Bey scored 22 points, Cole Swider added a career-high 18 and Collin Gillespie had 11 for the Wildcats, who have won two national championships since 2016. Gillespie appeared to injure his wrist late in the game.
Tucker Blackwell tied his career-high with 15 points while Tommy Funk also added 15 for the Black Knights, who played their first-ever game on the Main Line. Funk knocked down six of his 10 shots and also added five assists and five rebounds.
Villanova, the defending Big East regular-season and conference tournament champion, was utterly dominant from the opening tip as it rolled to a quick 15-4 lead by the first television timeout.
The Wildcats’ advantage swelled to as many as 31 when Robinson-Earl converted a three-point play to go ahead 40-9 with 5:53 remaining in the first half.
Though Army made a slight 17-9 run toward the end of the half, Villanova went into the locker room ahead by 23 points at 49-26. In his first collegiate game, Robinson-Earl nearly posted a double-double in the first 20 minutes with 15 points and nine rebounds. Bey added 12 points.
The Black Knights struggled to find much of an offensive rhythm against the Wildcats’ tenacious defense. Army was 9 of 32 from the field and missed 11 of its 14 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
Funk, a third-team All-Patriot League player last season, scored a pair of early second-half baskets for Army, which trailed 51-30.
But the Wildcats responded with consecutive baskets, including a 3-pointer by Gillespie to increase their lead to 26 at 56-30.
Gillespie later connected on a deep trey for a 74-44 Villanova lead with 10:42 remaining.
Bey then drove in for an uncontested dunk and a commanding 88-50 lead with 5:13 left. The Wildcats scored the next nine and the lead was 47.
—Field Level Media