Darrun Hilliard scored 18 of his career-high 26 points in the first half, and No. 8 Villanova beat Marquette, 73-56, Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center to set a school record with 26 regular-season wins.
Hilliard’s previous career-best scoring performance was 25 points in an overtime win over Syracuse here last year. His previous season best was 22 points at DePaul last month.
Freshman Josh Hart came off the bench to contribute 13 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes for the Wildcats, and JayVaughn Pinkston added 11 points and seven boards.
Several Villanova teams, most recently the 2009 Final Four team, won 25 regular-season games.
What it means
Villanova, 26-3, can lock up the No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament with wins over Xavier and Georgetown.
Villanova improved to 14-2 in the Big East, and Marquette fell to 17-12 overall and 9-7 in the conference.
Villanova has now won five of its last six games at the Wells Fargo Center. The win was 'Nova's first ever against Marquette at the Wells Fargo, following an 85-75 loss in 2008 and an 82-78 loss in 2012.
Villanova led by six late in the first half when Marquette coach Buzz Williams was called for a technical foul arguing a call 10 feet out on the court. Hilliard hit both foul shots with 36 seconds left and then closed the half with a three with three seconds left.
The five-point play gave the Wildcats an 11-point lead going into halftime, and the Wildcats scored the first six points of the second half to finish an 11-0 run and build a 17-point lead.
By the numbers
James Bell and Ryan Arcidiacono, averaging 15.7 and 10.0 points per game, were limited to 11 minutes and no points in the first half after picking up two early fouls. ... Bell, Villanova’s leading scorer, needed eight points for 1,000 but missed all three of his field goal attempts, both his foul shots, and did not score in just 13 minutes. It was his first scoreless game since Marquette last year. … Hart had more threes (three) than in his previous 11 games combined (one). … The Wildcats shot 54 percent (7 for 13) from three in the second half.
The Wildcats finish the Big East portion of their schedule with games Thursday evening at Xavier in Cincinnati and Saturday afternoon back here at the Wells Fargo Center vs. Georgetown.