January 11, 2018 / 3:22 AM / 8 months ago

No. 1 Villanova throttles No. 10 Xavier

Phil Booth scored a career-high 21 points, Jalen Brunson added 17, and No. 1 Villanova had little trouble defeating 10th-ranked Xavier 89-65 on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Mikal Bridges contributed 15 and Eric Paschall had 14 for the Wildcats, who won their second straight game following their only loss, 101-93 on Dec. 30 at Butler.

Villanova improved to 15-1 overall, 3-1 in the Big East, after competing as the top-ranked team in the country for the second time this season.

Donte DiVincenzo chipped in with 11 as the Wildcats shot 55.2 percent from the field.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright earned his 401st career win with the program in what was the first meeting between these teams held at the Wells Fargo Center.

Kerem Kanter led Xavier (15-3, 3-2) with 16 points while Naji Marshall added 13 and Trevon Bluiett 11. Bluiett hit just 4 of 12 shots from the field.

The Musketeers lost their second consecutive game after winning 10 straight.

Xavier’s Chris Mack remains one victory short of tying the all-time coaching wins mark at the school held by Pete Gillen with 202.

Villanova pulled ahead 50-33 early in the second half when Brunson stole the ball, dribbled nearly the length of the court and threw down a one-handed dunk. The lead swelled to 55-36 on a basket by Booth, forcing Mack to call timeout.

Bridges drove to the basket and dunked the ball with two hands for a 70-50 edge with 9:10 remaining.

Xavier never posed a serious threat the rest of the way.

When it was over, the Wildcats had won a home game against Xavier by double figures for the fifth year in a row.

Villanova bolted to a quick 18-6 lead thanks to 11 early points from Booth. However, Xavier responded and closed within 27-21 on a 3-pointer by Kaiser Gates.

The Wildcats began to pull away late in the first half as Brunson and Bridges each hit a 3-pointer.

Villanova shot 14 of 29 before the break and went into the locker room with a 40-28 advantage. Xavier was hampered by poor shooting — 11 of 32 overall and 2 of 9 from beyond the arc.

Villanova’s largest lead in the first half was 13 points.

For the game, the Musketeers made 3 of 17 3-point attempts while the Wildcats were 12 of 31 from beyond the arc.

—Field Level Media

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