February 18, 2018 / 12:10 AM / a month ago

No. 3 Villanova easily beats No. 4 Xavier in Big East showdown

EditorsNote: Adds rankings to headline

Mikal Bridges scored 25 points, Donte DiVincenzo added 21 and third-ranked Villanova picked up a huge 95-79 road victory over No. 4 Xavier Saturday at Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

Jalen Brunson, Omari Spellman and Eric Paschall each had 11 points for the Wildcats, who improved to 24-3 overall and 11-3 in the Big East. Collin Gillespie also chipped in with 10. Villanova had dropped two of three but still hasn’t lost consecutive games in five seasons.

Trevon Bluiett led Xavier with 26 points while J.P. Macura added 14. Naji Marshall contributed 11 and Quentin Goodin had 10 for the Musketeers, who had their nine-game winning streak snapped. Xavier is 24-4 overall and 12-3 in the conference.

This was the first matchup featuring two Top 5 teams in the conference since 2009.

The Wildcats misfired on their first four 3-pointers of the second half and the Musketeers climbed with 59-50.

Bluiett later converted a three-point play and the lead shrunk to 61-55 with 14:52 remaining. A step-back jumper by Bluiett then sliced the lead to 61-57 and the sellout crowd erupted following the 7-0 run.

After missing its first seven treys of the second half, Spellman connected from the wing and Villanova extended its lead back to 69-61 with 10:19 left. Bridges followed with a baseline jumper on the next offensive possession and the Wildcats suddenly went back ahead by double digits at 71-61.

After Xavier got within 75-69, Villanova came up with a steal by Spellman and Gillespie hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back to nine with 6:23 remaining.

Spellman secured the win with a deep 3-pointer for a 91-76 lead with 1:57 left.

Villanova knocked down 11 shots from beyond the 3-point arc, raced to a 19-point lead and took a 51-37 advantage into the locker room.

Bridges led all first half scorers with 16 points and the Wildcats were 11 of 19 from 3-point territory.

In Wednesday’s loss at Providence, Villanova was 3 of 20 on treys for the entire game.

—Field Level Media

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