CINCINNATI — No. 2 Villanova used a balanced attack to roll past No. 24 Xavier 73-57 on a day Wildcats head coach Jay Wright collected his 500th career win.
“I just feel blessed to coach at Villanova,” Wright said. “It’s pretty cool. I don’t think too much about that.”
Jalen Brunson had 17 points, seven assists and four rebounds and freshman guard Donte DiVincenzo scored 17 points off the bench to lead Villanova (24-2, 11-2 Big East), which shot 51.9 percent on its way to winning five straight.
Kris Jenkins added 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals and Josh Hart ended with 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals for the defending champions who improved to 24-5 all-time in this series.
Mikal Bridges chipped in with 10 points for the Wildcats, who were outrebounded 42-26 by Xavier, made some big shots to quiet down the arena, which was load when the game started.
“We just focus on sticking together and controlling what we can control,” said Jenkins.
“Nothing can rattle us as long as we do that.”
RaShid Gaston collected a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Musketeers (18-7, 8-4 Big East), who were without point guard Edmond Sumner due to a torn ACL and lost junior guard Trevon Bluiett midway through the first half to an ankle injury.
Bluiett re-taped his right ankle and returned to the court but he clearly was still in pain.
“We felt like 70 percent or 60 percent of Trevon wasn’t going to be effective,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said.
“I don’t want to put a guy out there who feels he’s playing on one leg.”
Coach Wright said: “This league is becoming a war of attrition, man.
“Everybody’s losing players. I feel bad for Chris with Sumner out and now Trevon getting hurt in the first half. That had a big impact on the game.”
The Villanova Wildcats will next be in action at DePaul on Monday.
Up next for the Xavier Musketeers is s trip at Providence on Wednesday.