Josh Hart scored 13 points off the bench as Villanova improved to 10-0. (AP)
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Darrun Hilliard scored 21 points and reserves Josh Hart added and Kris Jenkins added 13 and 11, respectively, as Villanova ran its record to 10-0 with a 73-52 victory over La Salle on Sunday afternoon at the Pavilion.
The Wildcats, ranked 10th by the Associated Press and 14th by USA Today, are 10-0 for the first time since 2005-06. They are also 3-0 in Big 5 play.
Jerrell Wright topped the Explorers (5-5) with 20 points.
Nova rolled despite off games by their top two scorers, JayVaughn Pinkston and James Bell. Both came in averaging nearly 18 points a game, but Pinkston managed seven points and Bell finished with three. Both totals were season lows.
But Villanova’s bench outscored LaSalle’s reserves, 29-15.
With La Salle leading, 17-15, midway through the first half, another reserve, Dylan Ennis, triggered a pivotal 12-2 run with a free throw. Hart’s fast-break conversion put the Wildcats ahead to stay, at 18-17, and he added a three-point play later in the run.
Villanova, up 27-19 after that flurry, never trailed again.
Turning point II
The Explorers scored the last six points of the first half to cut a 10-point deficit to four, but Villanova rattled off nine of the second half’s first 10 points -- five by Pinkston and four by Hilliard -- to take command at 47-35.
La Salle, which did not have a field goal the first 5:29 of the half, trailed by as many as 25 points later in the game.
Villanova held a 68-48 lead with under four minutes to play, but Jenkins hit the floor to reclaim a miss by teammate Tony Chennault, and in a moment of poetic justice he wound up with a wide open three-pointer later in the possession. He buried it.
Inside the box
• Villanova shot 59.1 percent while outscoring the Explorers, 35-18, in the second half.
• La Salle, which began the day last in the Atlantic 10 in field-goal percentage (40.4), made just 38.8 percent of its shots and 28.6 percent after the break.
• Tyrone Garland, the Explorers’ leading scorer at 16.3 points a game, finished with seven points on 2 for 12 shooting.
• Wright fell one point shy of his one-game-old career high. He scored 21 in a 65-57 victory over Stony Brook on Dec. 7. No one else cracked double figures for La Salle.
• La Salle had 11 of its 17 turnovers in the second half. 'Nova converted those 17 turnovers into 18 points.
• Tyreek Duren, La Salle’s second-leading scorer (13.6), shot 2 for 6 and scored four points.
• Jenkins went 3 for 3 on three-pointers, but the rest of the Wildcats were just 3 for 21 from beyond the arc.
• La Salle missed 12 of its 13 three-point attempts.
Villanova leads, 36-27, and has won six of 10 meetings at the Pavilion.
Villanova hosts Rider next Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m, while La Salle hosts Wagner Thursday at 7 p.m.