VILLANOVA, PA -- Villanova used a pair of second half runs to extend a four-point halftime lead as the Wildcats pulled away for a 75-65 non-conference men's basketball victory over the University of Delaware Sunday afternoon at The Pavilion.
The Wildcats, who won their third consecutive game while improving to 7-4 on the year, held a commanding 43-27 rebounding advantage and grabbed 20 offensive boards, leading to a 29-7 margin in second chance points. Villanova shot 45.2 percent from the field and buried 10 three-pointers during the victory, improving to 11-0 all-time against Delaware. JayVaughn Pinkston tied his season-high with 19 points for Villanova, while James Bel added 14 while going 4 of 6 from three-point range. Daniel Ochefu contributed 11 points on 5 of 6 shooting off the bench, while Darrun Hilliard was the fourth Wildcat in double figures with 10 points.
Delaware dropped its second straight game as the Blue Hens fell to 3-8 on the season and lost their fourth consecutive road contest. Junior Devon Saddler (at right), the leading scorer in the Colonial Athletic Association, again led the way with 19 points as he moved into 15th place on the UD career scoring list. Jarvis Threatt (at left) reached double figures for the fourth time on the year with 15 points to go with five assists, while Jamelle Hagins had another big effort with 12 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Kyle Anderson was the fourth UD player to reach double digits as he tallied 10 points for Delaware, which fell to 0-11 all-time against Big East opponents.
It was still a two-point game following a Brinkley layup, but Pinkston scored just before the buzzer to give Villanova a 32-28 lead at the half. Delaware connected on 12 of 23 shots from the field for a 52.2 percentage in the opening 20 minutes, but the Wildcats stayed in front due to 13 offensive rebounds that led to 18 second chance points.
Villanova opened the second half with a 9-3 spurt, going up double figures at 41-31 on a Pinkston three-pointer with 17 minutes to play. The lead grew to as much as 11, before a Threatt jumper and a Saddler three-pointer brought the Blue Hens within 46-40 and forced a Wildcats time out with 13:57 remaining.
But Villanova exploded out of the break with a quick 8-0 run, extending the margin to 54-40 on a steal and dunk by Hilliard with 12:37 on the clock. Later the Wildcats' Tony Chennault buried jumpers on consecutive possessions to make it a 62-46 game with 6:40 to play. The lead grew to as much as 18 points three times in the period, the final occurrence at 73-55, before the Blue Hens scored 10 of the final 12 points of the contest.
"We did some good things today, not just enough of them," said seventh-year Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross. "Eight turnovers in the first half really hurt us, and we didn't rebound the ball well all day. I felt confident being down just four points at the half, but a couple of mini runs by them in the second half knocked us on our heels. We're down right now but we realize the position we put ourselves in with our non-conference schedule, and we're getting better."
Delaware, which has faced two Big East, ACC and Atlantic 10 squads, as well as a Big 12 opponent, returns home on Friday to host Penn at 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center. The Blue Hens recorded an 84-69 victory over the Quakers on November 12 in Charlottesville, Va. in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Delaware scored on its first four possessions while jumping out to an early 9-5 lead, before Villanova countered with six consecutive points to go in front 11-9 at the 15:34 mark of the opening half. Later a dunk by Bell and a three-pointer by Hilliard give the Wildcats a 25-20 advantage, but Threatt and Josh Brinkley answered with jumpers as the Blue Hens got back within a point.