ROSEMONT, Ill. — Guard Darrun Hilliard led a balanced attack with a season-high 22 points while No. 6 Villanova ran its winning streak to six with a 87-62 Big East victory over DePaul on Wednesday night at Allstate Arena.
The Big East-leading Wildcats (22-2, 10-1) won their 11th in 12 games, a span marred only by a Jan. 20 loss to Creighton.
Five players hit double figures as Villanova beat DePaul for the second time this season.
Guard James Bell scored 16 points, guard Ryan Arcidiacono and forward JayVaughn Pinkston each had 14 while forward Kris Jenkins added 11 for the Wildcats. Pinkston also collected 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Guard Brandon Young scored a season- and game-high 27 points while center Sandi Marcius added 10 as DePaul (10-15, 2-10) dropped its season-high seventh straight and fell into a last place tie with Butler.
Villanova led 48-31 at halftime and pushed the lead to 27 points at 61-34 on Hilliard’s 3-pointer with 16:11 left in the second half and never saw the advantage slip under 21 points.
The Wildcats were successful both inside and beyond the arc, with 22 points in the paint and 15 of 26 for 45 points from beyond the 3-point line. Hilliard led with five 3-pointers.
Villanova led 18-17 five minutes into the game, then sprinted to a 19-5 run over a span of 8:45 minutes to open their biggest lead to that point at 37-22. The surge included 11 unanswered points, finally broken by Young’s layup with 4:37 left in the half.
The Blue Demons never got closer than 10 points the rest of the half while the Wildcats pushed the lead to 19 at 46-27 on Pinkston’s dunk with 1:14 left before the break.
Villanova went 8 of 16 on 3-pointers and hit 12-of-13 free throws as it opened a 48-31 halftime lead behind 11 points from Hilliard and 10 from Pinkston. Young paced DePaul with a game-high 16 first half points.
NOTES: Wednesday’s game was DePaul’s first without leading scorer Cleveland Melvin, who left the program and school earlier this week. School officials gave no reason and Melvin had not played in the last four games, serving a suspension for unspecified rules violations. … Villanova was the Blue Demon’s second straight game against a ranked foe. DePaul dropped a 78-66 decision last Friday at No. 12 Creighton. … G Brandon Young needed one assist to become the fourth in school history with at least 500. … In Villanova’s last seven games, G/F James Bell has averaged 21.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game to land Big East Player of the Week honors. … The Wildcats now holds an 18-8 all-time lead over DePaul and has won the last eight games. … Villanova travels to Creighton on Sunday looking to avenge last month’s 96-68 loss. DePaul is at Providence on Saturday.
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