VILLANOVA, Pa. — No. 3 Villanova, which trailed by eight early, closed the first half on an 18-4 run and rolled to a 79-54 win over No. 15 Xavier in a showdown at the Pavilion on Tuesday night between two nationally ranked Big East teams.
The Wildcats outscored Xavier 12-5 to open the second half to make it a 30-9 run over 11½ minutes and turn an eight-point deficit into a 13-point lead.
Xavier had won six straight games since losses at Colorado and Baylor.
‘Nova missed 14 of its first 20 shots and trailed by eight points at 24-16 with 6½ minutes to go in the first half before seniors Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins and sophomore Jalen Brunson combined to score 15 of Villanova’s next 18 points.
Xavier missed 11 straight shots late in the first half and missed 21 of 25 over a 20-minute span from five minutes into the first half to five minutes into the second half.
Villanova led by as many as 29 points late in the game.
With Xavier holding its eight-point lead and 6½ minutes left before halftime, Villanova ratcheted up the defense and held the Musketeers scoreless for the next 5½ minutes.
Xavier missed 11 straight shots during that span, and by the time it scored again, Villanova had the lead for good.
The Kris and Josh show
Jenkins led Villanova with 20 points and six rebounds and Hart added 20 points, five assists and six boards. Brunson added 11 points and six assists with no turnovers.
Redshirt freshman Donte DiVincenzo registered 10 points, four rebounds and three assists in a career-high 31 minutes off the bench, and Darryl Reynolds shot 5 for 6 for 10 points with three rebounds.
What it means
With the win, Villanova improved to 16-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big East. Xavier fell to 13-3 overall and 3-1 in the Big East.
The win extended Villanova’s winning streak in its on-campus facility to 46 in a row since a 55-52 loss to Providence on Feb. 3, 2013. The 46 consecutive wins ties the program’s longest winning streak in the building, set from 2007 through 2011.
Stat of the day
Xavier made five of its first 10 shots from three and then missed 10 in a row and 21 of 22 the rest of the game.
By the numbers
J.P. Macura (10), Edmond Sumner (11) and Trevon Bluiett (10) reached double figures in scoring for the Musketeers but combined to shoot 9 for 35. … After making six of its first nine shots, Xavier went 11 for 50 the rest of the way. … Villanova opened up 6 for 20 from the field but shot 22 for 32 the rest of the way, including 17 for 25 in the second half. … Villanova now leads the all-time series 23-5.
Villanova travels to New York Saturday for a noon game against St. John’s at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats’ next home game is next Monday back at the Pavilion against Seton Hall.