ROSEMONT, Ill., Sporting Alert – Josh Hart scored 18 points and led four others in double figures, and No. 1 Villanova cruised to a comfortable 86-59 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night.
Hart, who has scored in double figures in every game so far this season, shot 6-of-11 from the field, while making 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
“It was kind of a good thing we got away from campus and that buzz,” said Hart, referring to the buzz about the team being the country’s top-ranked side in the Associated Press poll for the first time in school history.
“We’re a family on the road and we didn’t talk about it at all. We just focused on DePaul.”
Darryl Reynolds scored 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting and added six rebounds and two steals, while Kris Jenkins hit three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two steals for the Wildcats (21-3, 11-1 Big East) who were playing for the first time since becoming the No. 1 team in the latest AP top 25 rankings.
Daniel Ochefu had 11 points, six boards, four assists, two steals and two blocks and Jalen Brunson ended with 11 points and four helpers for Villanova, which has now won 13 of the last 14 games.
Eli Cain led DePaul with 15 points, with Myke Henry adding nine points and 11 boards for the Blue Demons (8-16, 2-10), who committed 19 turnovers that were turned into 19 precious points for the Wildcats.
Villanova, which started swiftly, scored 13 points off 12 turnovers in the first half.
“Those turnovers hurt us,” Henry said.
DePaul, which dropped two straight and suffered its fourth loss in five games, shot 40.8 percent from the field in the defeat.
“We’re playing a program, and you can see it,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said about Villanova.
“All credit to Jay and obviously the 15 years of doing something at a high level.
“We played a program with a brand, and those guys believe wholeheartedly in that brand.”
The win on Tuesday night for Villanova, which shot 48.3 percent as a team, sees the nation’s top-ranked team moving two games clear of fifth-ranked Xavier in the Big East standings.
“Everyone was talking yesterday about being No. 1 and we just wanted to talk about DePaul,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said.
“I really credit our two seniors, Ryan (Arcidiacono) and Daniel, for their leadership to keep our guys focused. I think we have a pretty mature team.”