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Pennsylvania vs Villanova

No. 14 Villanova keeps rolling, eases past Penn

CBSSports.com wire reports
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VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Villanova returned from the Bahamas with three wins, a trophy and a national ranking.

The Wildcats could have used an extended stay on the island.

Darrun Hilliard scored 19 points and No. 14 Villanova overcame a 7:29 scoreless stretch to open the second half in beating Pennsylvania 77-54 on Wednesday night.

The Wildcats shot only 26 percent after halftime and needed 3-point sprees to open and close the game to put away pesky Penn.

"I don't think the Bahamas really gave us a big head," Hilliard said, "but you can't look past anybody."

James Bell scored 14 points, JayVaughn Pinkston added 13 and Villanova (8-0) won its first game as a ranked team in almost two years.

The Wildcats catapulted from unranked to 14th this week, the first time they cracked the Top 25 since they were No. 19 in the Feb. 28, 2011, poll. Within a span of about 24 hours, Villanova defeated No. 2 Kansas and No. 23 Iowa to win the Battle 4 Atlantis last weekend.

With a weaker team on the schedule, Villanova beat the Quakers for the 11th consecutive time.

As the perfect start and high-profile victories thrust the Wildcats into the national spotlight, their return home was greeted as if they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. They had fun reminders Wednesday night from their weekend in the Bahamas, including a highlight video of every clutch shot that won them the championship, and then a trophy presentation at halftime.

"I like being ranked, I really do," coach Jay Wright said. "It's great for the fans, great for Philadelphia basketball. Nothing bad about it."

The Wildcats dominated so much in the first half that it hardly mattered they didn't score their first point of the second until the 12:31 mark. Even with the drought that saw them miss 15 of their first 16 from the floor, Penn couldn't cut the gap under double digits.

Penn finally made it a nine-point game with 10 minutes left. Hilliard scored Villanova's first field goal with 9:54 to go, then made one of two free throws off a turnover to make it 53-41. The Wildcats missed 14 of their first 15 shots in the second half, yet still led by nine.

Kris Jenkins hit Villanova's ninth 3-pointer to give the offense a needed boost. That stretched the lead to 15, and the Wildcats closed it out for their fifth home victory.

"We've got some older guys that, when they want to turn it on, can turn it on," Wright said. "I think that's what happened. That's not a good plan for success."

Miles Jackson-Cartwright led Penn (2-5) with 17 points and Darien Nelson-Henry had 12.

"I thought our guys played with energy and effort," Penn coach Jerome Allen said. "Whether they always played smart or not, it's a different story. But at least I thought they competed. But it's my responsibility to get these guys to, not just compete, but expect to win."

Villanova struggled shooting in its final two tournament games on Paradise Island, including a 39 percent effort against the Jayhawks. Ryan Arcidiacono bailed out the Wildcats in that one with a winning 3-pointer, but he missed his first eight 3-point attempts against the Quakers.

Penn got a 20-minute crash course in just what made the Wildcats so successful on the island.

Hilliard and Bell, the tournament MVP, opened the game with 3s and Josh Hart nailed one for a 17-6 lead. Dylan Ennis made a steal at halfcourt, then was pummeled by Penn's Julian Harrell on the drive to the basket. Ennis made one of two free throws, then sank another 3-pointer on the possession for a 24-8 lead.

Jenkins joined in the 3-point fun, helping Villanova get off to a 7-of-15 start from outside the arc and a 29-9 lead.

The Wildcats had nine assists on their first nine baskets and kept the Ivy League Quakers from generating any offense.

Then Jackson-Cartwright turned his 3-point game into a pop-a-shot contest. The 6-foot-3 guard nailed four 3s in a matter of minutes to slice the gap to 35-24.

"I was just trying to get a look," Jackson-Cartwright said. "I wasn't finishing at the rim. I left some points out there. I got an open look, so I was just going to let it fly."

The Wildcats held off Jackson-Cartwright's surge and used a huge advantage at the free throw line (14 of 17 to 1 of 3) to lead 46-28 at the break.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Pennsylvania (2-5)282654
Villanova #14 (8-0) «463177
PENN:M. Jackson-Cartwright 17 Pts
PENN:F. Dougherty 9 Reb
PENN:T. Bagtas 9 Ast
NOVA:D. Hilliard 19 Pts
NOVA:J. Bell 8 Reb
NOVA:D. Ennis 5 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
PennsylvaniaVillanova
PENN
Miles Jackson-Cartwright
NOVA
Darrun Hilliard
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
17311941
Pennsylvania Quakers
T. Bagtas, G363-70-16917
M. Jackson-Cartwright, G366-161-131317
F. Dougherty, F311-71-29133
D. Nelson-Henry, C205-92-270412
T. Hicks, G130-31-20131
J. Harrell, G242-110-16144
H. Brooks, F121-30-03042
G. Louis, F122-31-22056
J. Lewis, G80-10-00110
C. Gunter, F-C20-00-00000
M. Howard, G21-10-01002
D. Jones, F20-00-00010
D. Jok, G10-00-01000
S. Rennard, G10-10-01000
K. Cairns, FDid Not Play
C. Crocker, GDid Not Play
S. Esprit, GDid Not Play
P. Lucas-Perry, GDid Not Play
P. Troutt, GDid Not Play
D. Winfield, CDid Not Play
Totals 21-626-1139142954
 33.9%54.5% 
Villanova Wildcats
R. Arcidiacono, G331-100-04223
J. Pinkston, F281-411-1471213
J. Bell, G275-123-481314
D. Hilliard, G265-105-841219
T. Chennault, G220-30-01320
D. Ennis, G242-66-755111
J. Hart, G172-33-32008
D. Ochefu, F120-03-43333
K. Jenkins, F112-40-02036
N. McMahon, GDid Not Play
P. Farrell, FDid Not Play
H. Lowe, GDid Not Play
D. Reynolds, FDid Not Play
Totals 18-5231-4036161877
 34.6%77.5% 
Ivy League
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Harvard0-07-121
Yale0-08-330
Columbia0-05-3151
Cornell0-05-4212
Dartmouth0-05-5221
Brown0-05-6260
Penn0-03-5333
Princeton0-04-8287

Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Villanova0-010-010
Seton Hall0-09-118
St. Johns0-09-151
Butler0-08-247
Xavier0-08-246
Creighton0-09-3118
Providence0-08-373
Georgetown0-06-384
DePaul0-06-4190
Marquette0-06-459
 
Other games
DELST 46 Final
DAYT 56
UMKC 62 Final
LOU 90
MD 60 Final
OHST 76
WISC 48 Final
UVA 38
UNC 79 Final
MIST 65