By Michael Donovan
There’s a good reason Villanova hasn’t lost consecutive games in almost four seasons.
And the Marquette Golden Eagles found out why last night at the Wells.
Kris Jenkins scored a season-high 23 points, Josh Hart had 19 and No. 1 Villanova returned to form with a 93-81 win over Marquette.
The Wildcats (15-1, 3-1 Big East) bounced back from their first loss of the season at Butler and still have not lost two straight games since 2013.
Markus Howard led the Golden Eagles (10-5, 1-2) with 21 points.
The Golden Eagles made five of their first nine 3-pointers to hang around for a half before the Wildcats blew the game open. Brunson hit a 3 off an assist from Jenkins; Jenkins followed with a 3 off an assist from Brunson for a 17-point lead.
Jenkins made six of Villanova’s 14 3-pointers. Brunson, who had 16 points, was 3 of 3 on 3s.
Villanova will likely lose the top spot in the AP Top 25 poll to Baylor. But the Wildcats made 25 of their first 25 shots and proved that even with a loss, the road to a Big East crown still goes through the best basketball team in Philly.
Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski was whistled for a technical late in the first half. He had good reason to be fired up:
Marquette was just 2 for 2 from the free-throw line in the half. If the Wildcats are the Big East measuring stick, Marquette again failed a big test and lost to them for the ninth straight game. Marquette hasn’t defeated Villanova since Jan. 28, 2012. Marquette’s career record against top-ranked teams fell to 1-10.
Villanova hasn’t dropped consecutive games since they lost a Big East tourney game and their first NCAA Tournament game in 2013. The loss to Butler was just a minor bump for a program looking for a fourth straight Big East championship. But a game with No. 16 Xavier on Tuesday looms for the Wildcats.