By Mary Cunningham
Villanova is starting to look like the Beast of the Big East.
Ryan Arcidiacono scored 18 points and Darrun Hilliard had 12 to lead the No. 7 Cats to a 70-52 win over Marquette Wednesday night at the Wells.
Daniel Ochefu (photo above) grabbed nine rebounds and Josh Hart scored 11 points in the latest romp for Villanova (20-2, 7-2 Big East). The Wildcats got off to a typically slow start to roll past the Golden Eagles (10-12, 2-8) and send them to their sixth straight loss.
Marquette’s Matt Carlino scored nine points and sat out a few minutes after a hard fall on his head in the second half.
Villanova led by as many as 24 points in its final tuneup before a rematch with No. 24 Georgetown. The Hoyas thumped the Wildcats by 20 on Jan. 19.
Arcidiacono hit four of Villanova’s 11 3-pointers and Hart and Phil Booth each added two.
The Wildcats blew the game open in the second half against the slumping Golden Eagles. Dylan Ennis was all alone on a fast break and his one-handed slam made it 50-26. Arcidiacono’s third 3-pointer made it 54-32 and the Wildcats stormed toward their seventh win in eight games.
Carlino, the Big East leader in 3-pointers, was 3 of 6 and held below his 14.8 scoring average. He is Marquette’s only player averaging double-digit scoring, and he had little help against the Wildcats. Marquette failed to match the balanced performance it had in overtime losses at the end of last month to the nationally ranked Hoyas and Butler.
Once the Wildcats straightened themselves out, they took over. The Golden Eagles went 11 straight possessions without a basket over a nearly seven-minute span and the Wildcats rolled off a 10-0 run to take control.
The sloppy first 10 minutes were replaced by only one turnover in the final 10.
Booth and Hilliard hit consecutive 3-pointers for a 22-12 lead. Arcidiacono hit one 3 for a 16-point lead and another that put the Wildcats up 18 before they settled for a 36-19 lead at halftime.
The short burst at the end masked an overall weak half of shooting for each team: Villanova was only 11 of 34 (32 percent) and Marquette just 7 of 30 (23 percent).