Freshman Justin Moore had 25 points and five steals, Saddiq Bey added 19 points and 10 rebounds and No. 22 Villanova defeated Big 5 rival La Salle 83-72 Sunday on the Main Line in Philadelphia.
Collin Gillespie scored 14 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had eight points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, who improved to 5-2.
Ed Croswell paced La Salle with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and David Beatty added 12 points before fouling out.
The Explorers (4-3) haven’t beaten Villanova since 2012.
Villanova used a 17-1 run to take a 24-14 lead when Bryan Antoine hit a layup with 9:32 remaining in the first half.
Saul Phiri responded with a deep 3-pointer for La Salle to close within 24-17.
Robinson-Earl received a pass in the low post, spun around his defender and dunked for a 30-20 Villanova advantage with 7:30 left. Two free throws by Gillespie, another dunk by Robinson-Earl and a slam by Bey extended the Wildcats’ lead to 36-20, prompting La Salle head coach Ashley Howard to take a timeout.
The Explorers committed nine turnovers in the first half and trailed 48-28 heading into the locker room. Moore powered the Wildcats with 15 first half points on 6-of-10 shooting.
Croswell scored in the low post twice to get La Salle within 50-36 early in the second half. The Explorers’ defense became stingier and forced the Wildcats into a rare set of back-to-back turnovers.
Beatty later threw down a two-handed dunk with 13:05 remaining to cap a 10-0 run and cut the Villanova advantage to 50-40.
The Wildcats snapped a scoring drought of more than 6 1/2 minutes when Moore drilled a 3-pointer from the wing for a 53-40 advantage with 11:48 left. On Villanova’s next possession, Moore drove to the basket and finished with a nifty left-handed layup for a 15-point lead at 55-40.
Croswell knocked down two free throws with 2:56 to go, but the Explorers still trailed 71-61. They got no closer than nine the rest of the way.
—Field Level Media