PHILADELPHIA — Junior guard Darrun Hilliard scored 18 first-half points as No. 8 Villanova defeated Marquette 73-56.
Hilliard finished with a career-high 26 points, topping his former mark of 25 points set against Syracuse in an overtime win last year. The junior hit five of his eight attempts from beyond the arc and added four assists.
Marquette featured a more balanced scoring attack, with freshman guard Deonte Burton leading the way. The freshman scored a team-high 13 points, all of them coming in the second half.
The Wildcats (26-3, 14-2 Big East) suffered through some foul trouble early in the game, with guards Ryan Arcidiacono and James Bell going to the bench early with two fouls each. With those two saddled on the bench, Hilliard and fellow guard Josh Hart carried the scoring load, scoring the first 20 Wildcats points in the opening 12 minutes of the game.
During the run, Hilliard scored 13 points while shooting three of five from the 3-point line. Hart added the other seven, hitting three of his first four shots after replacing Bell.
A 7-0 Golden Eagles run that cut Villanova’s lead to six was derailed after Marquette coach Buzz Williams was called for a technical foul with 36 seconds left in the half. Hilliard connected on the free throws and hit another 3-pointer to give the Wildcats an 11-point lead at the half.
Marquette (17-12, 9-7) opened up the second half sluggish, missing its first five shots as the Wildcats opened up a sizable 18-point lead. Guard Todd Mayo finally broke the spell with a mid-range jumper five minutes into the half.
Golden Eagles guard Deonte Burton scored 11 straight points for Marquette in a four-minute span, but no other player was able to contribute as the deficit climbed to 16 points.
The 3-pointers from Arcidiacono and Hart extended the lead to 22 with just under seven minutes to play, Villanova’s largest lead of the game.
Heading into Sunday’s contest, the Golden Eagles were ranked 99th in the nation in turnovers per game with 11.6. Villanova was able to force 15 turnovers, eight in the first half, and convert them into 21 points.
NOTES: With the win, Villanova set a new mark with 26 regular season wins. The Wildcats have hit the 25-win mark four times, the latest coming in 2008-2009. … In the first meeting between the teams, Villanova ended Marquette’s 20-game win streak in the Big East, dating back to last year, in a 94-85 overtime win. … Marquette’s 56 points are the third-lowest this season, behind 49 points against Creighton and 35 points against Ohio State.
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