A footnote that typically follows any statistic about Villanova's performance at the Pavilion is "well, they never play anyone there." Looking to put that criticism to bed, the Wildcats welcomed #15 Xavier to the Main Line for a mid-week tilt that ended up being a 25 point blow-out. While the game was tabbed early to be one of the prime match-ups of the season, it ended up being a laugher with Villanova running the Muskies out of the building.
After a dominating performance against Marquette, Villanova got off to a slow start, going down 7-2 before the 17:00 minute mark. Josh Hart started 3-9 from the field, while Jenkins was an icy 2-6. With a little over 16 minutes left in the first half, DiVincenzo scored the Wildcats' first field goal of the night. The game went back and forth, with Xavier maintaining a narrow lead, including a 3 minute hellscape wherein neither team netted a bucket. It wasn't pretty, with the Wildcats being carried by DiVincenzo, who appeared to be everywhere on the court at once.
With 3 and half minutes left in the first half, Paschall hit the first of two free throws to tie the game at 24. That sparked a 10-2 run and Villanova went to the locker room with a 34-28 lead.
Nova's lead ballooned to 19 points with 9 minutes left in the game on a Hart trey from just in front of the Wildcats' bench. On the next trip down the floor, Jenkins took a shot to the head while going for a rebound and exited the game. He re-entered shortly thereafter and appeared to be alright. With about two minutes left, Reynolds came up gimpy after fighting for a loose ball rebound. He appeared to shake it off though and remained in for a few more possessions before being subbed off. Brunson continued his solid play, going 4-7 with 6 assists.
Villanova was led by their star seniors with Josh Hart finishing 7-16 with 20 points, with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Jenkins came alive late, going 4-8 from deep, and pouring in 20 points of his own. Freshman DiVincenzo had his best game of the season, going 4-6 with 10 points, adding 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Xavier had a brutal shooting night, no doubt in part due to Villanova's defense, missing 21 of their last 22 three-point attempts, and finished 28% from the floor. Edmond Sumner led Xavier with 11 points on a miserable 3-15 from the floor.
The 'Cats are back in action at Madison Square Garden this Saturday when they take on St. John's.