Villanova jumped to a 9-0 lead with 16:18 remaining in the half on a JayVaughn Pinkston three. Pinkston would knock down two more shots from beyond the arc to put the Wildcats up 20-9, as the forward went 3-of-3 from three-point range in the half.
While Xavier was sloppy, turning the ball over 10 times in the first 15 minutes of play, the Wildcats failed to capitalize on the Musketeers' mistakes. With Villanova's shooting going progressively downhill throughout the half, Xavier was able to keep the game close, knocking down a shot with 32 seconds left to pull within 28-22 as the teams went to the locker rooms.
The Wildcats would finish the half shooting just 36.7 percent from the field, as Pinkston led the way with 9 points, all from beyond the arc. While the junior forward nearly matched his season total for three's in the first half alone, as he had gone just 5-of-24 from beyond the arc entering tonight's contest, he went just 3-of-8 from the field overall in the half.
Semaj Christon led the Musketeers in the half, tallying 10 points, while center Matt Stainbrook chipped in 6 points and 8 rebounds, as the Musketeers out-rebounded the Wildcats 22-16 in the half.
After Xavier pulled within three on back-to-back three-pointers by Justin Martin early in the second half, Villanova finally began to put some distance between themselves and the Musketeers.
With 11:58 remaining in the game Dylan Ennis would throw down a big dunk in transition to give the Wildcats their largest lead so far at 15, and Villanova would not look back, taking command on their way to a 81-58 win.
James Bell led all scorers, as he tallied 27 points for the Wildcats on 10-of-14 shooting, including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc.
The win was the 20th of the season for the Wildcats, as they improved to 20-2 overall and 8-1 in Big East play. Villanova will next face Seton Hall on Friday at the Pavilion.
By: Kyle Babcock
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