By Harry Allison

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl pumped 27 points to lead No. 5 Villanova to a 96-64 victory over Marquette.

Collin Gillespie added 16 points and 11 assists, and Jermaine Samuels scored 14 for the Wildcats (13-2, 8-1 Big East), who have won 10 of 11.

Robinson-Earl made 10 of 11 shots, including all five 3-point tries, and added eight rebounds.

“He’s worked hard all year and it’s starting to become a consistent part of his game,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said of Robinson-Earl’s long-range shooting.

“I’m a big Kobe guy and he talks about when you take thousands of shots in that situation, you don’t have to think about it,” Robinson-Earl said. “I stayed as confident as possible and tried to stick them.”

The Wildcats got a commanding lead with a 12-2 run on Robinson-Earl’s 3-pointer that made it 45-32 less than two minutes into the second half. The Golden Eagles got their deficit under double digits on Koby McEwen’s 3-pointer that cut Villanova’s advantage to 45-36.

But Theo John was called for a Flagrant 1 foul on Gillespie on the play. Gillespie made both free throws and Samuels hit a jumper on the ensuing possession and it was a 13-point Wildcats lead that quickly.

The Golden Eagles got it under 10 again in the half, 61-52, on Garcia’s two free throws with 11:33 left. But Robinson-Earl hit a 3-pointer on each of Villanova’s next three possessions, the last with 9:41 to play that gave the Wildcats a 70-54 advantage.

The five 3-pointers were a career high for Robinson-Earl, who entered shooting 27% from beyond the arc and had made just 12 from long range all season. Then, he made 3 in just 1 minute, 40 seconds.

“They’re a team that can win the national championship, have great talents on offense and put you in difficult situations with five guys who can shoot,” Wojciechowski said. “They don’t make mistakes and make you pay for yours.”

The Villanova lead reached as many as 33 points in the second half.

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