By Harry Allison
Villanova falling behind early is a familiar site to Wildcat fans.
And last night at the Pavilion was no exception.
No. 17 Villanova (9-2) trailed Delaware 12-2 at the first timeout before embarking on a 34-8 to turn those uncomfortable first few minutes into a 78-48 victory.
The Wildcats were sharp from the 3-point line, led by Josh Hart (above) who made his first four 3-pointers and finished with his second career double-double with 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds on 70 percent shooting (7-10).
“I didn’t have any defensive rebounds against Virginia and I’ve never had that happen to me in a game,” Hart said. “It’s something coach talked to me about — getting back to the basics and having the heart and will to get the job done.”
Jaylen Brunson sparked the offense with three consecutive 3-pointers after the first time out and finished with 13 points.
“He definitely did a great job of getting us going with those threes,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “Our philosophy is to teach guys to be aggressive with their shooting. We may have been a bit over-aggressive with that to start the season. Our shot selection has been getting better and will continue to get better as we move along.”
Ryan Arcidiacono added 11 points and Phil Booth finished with 9 points and 7 assists playing 29 minutes off the bench after Kris Jenkins left the game in the first half with a knee injury. Overall, the Villanova bench outscored the Delaware bench 25-0.
Outside of Kory Holden (23 points) and Cazmon Hayes (14 points) the Blue Hens (5-5) couldn’t generate much offense, becoming the eighth team this season to shoot less than 40 percent against the stifling Villanova defense.
“Right now that’s not a game we are capable of achieving what we need to offensively, ” Delaware coach Monte Ross said. “They are obviously a very talented team.”
Every game this season for Villanova (9-2) has been decided by double digits.
Villanova improved to 14-0 all-time against Delaware while the Blue Hens fell to 0-32 all-time against ranked opponents.
Wright now has 450 career victories. He had 122 in seven seasons as the coach of Hofstra University (1994-2001) and has amassed 328 in 15 seasons with the Wildcats.
Kris Jenkins left the game in the first half for Villanova with a sprained knee and did not return. Jenkins stumbled awkwardly near the 3-point line and twisted backward over his knee. After the game Wright said he had no update on Jenkins but that “It didn’t look good.” Jenkins will get an MRI on Wednesday. If Jenkins is sidelined he will join fellow injured rotation players Donte DiVicenzo and Tim Delaney. Wright added that he’s starting to worry about his team’s depth.