clear
Saturday September 22nd, 2018 3:33AM

Booth scores 21, No. 1 Villanova routs No. 10 Xavier 89-65

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Villanova turned the anticipated Big East game of the year into a romp by the time some fans were still taking their seats.

Phil Booth hit five 3s and scored a career high 21 points while Jalen Brunson had 17 to lead the No. 1 Wildcats to an 89-65 win over No. 10 Xavier on Wednesday night.

"We still have to get better," coach Jay Wright said.

Hard to say where after Villanova's latest lopsided victory.

The Wildcats (15-1, 3-1 Big East) returned to the top spot of the poll and dominated like a team that won't lose its grip on that rank anytime soon.

Booth and Brunson opened the game with 3s and the Wildcats played every bit as worthy as their ranking as they raced to a 22-9 lead. Booth hit three 3s in the first half and Brunson was solid both from long range and in attacking the basket to make it 40-28 at the break.

The Wildcats took a 13-point lead in the half on the play of the game: Donte DiVincenzo stole the ball and fed to Eric Paschal just before halfcourt. Paschal passed to Booth who put some extra arc on a lob and the 6-foot-9 Paschal slammed it home to rock the rim and bring the crowd to its feet.

Brunson, who made The Associated Press preseason All-America team, hit a pair of 3s and had five assists and just one turnover running the offense.

"You peel his face off, you'll probably have wires coming out of it," Xavier coach Chris Mack said. "I think they're led by the best point guard in college basketball."

Booth was just as sharp and has finally rounded into form after missing almost all of last season with a knee injury.

"I felt well probably about (Dec. 5) Gonzaga, getting the rhythm of the game," he said.

"It looked good tonight, man," Wright chimed in.

The Wildcats' annual defeat at Butler had no impact on a program that has been humming along, collecting Big East titles and the 2016 national championship. Villanova hasn't lost more than five games in a season since 2012-13 and it's hard to find two or three more losses on the schedule, much less anything that would send the Wildcats into a tailspin.

"It's hard for any player when you're winning to still focus on getting better," Wright said.

The Wildcats are getting better. They needed just a week to reclaim its lost No. 1 ranking in the AP Top 25. The Wildcats returned to the top after an upset-filled week that rattled the poll.

With the shakeup at the top of the poll in the wake of losses by No. 1 Michigan State and No. 2 Duke, Xavier (15-3, 3-2) might have been able to make this game a 1-2 matchup had it defeated Providence. The Musketeers instead had their 10-game winning streak snapped in an 81-72 loss to the Friars and slid to 10th.

They couldn't bounce back in Philly.

Trevon Bluiett (19.4 points) and J.P Macura (13.1 points) were awful in the first half and could not stop Nova from dominating. The duo went 3-for-11 from the floor, hit just one 3 and Xavier was generally overwhelmed, like so many Big East teams here before them.

"They do it to a lot of teams," Mack said.

Mikal Bridges hit Villanova's ninth 3 midway through the second half to make it 66-48 and squash the Musketeers for good.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: Kerem Kanter led Xavier with 16 points. ... Mack remains stuck at 201 wins, one shy of matching Pete Gillen for first on the program's career list. Mack picked up a few of those wins knocking off the top dog — the Musketeers had actually won four of their last games against the No. 1 team.

Villanova: More of the same for the Wildcats. Villanova improved to 16-4 and 10-0 at home as the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25.

D-D-D-DEFENSE

The Wildcats had been roughed up defensively of late, allowing at least 85 points in three straight games (2-1). They allowed 100 (101) for the first time this season against Butler and 85 and 90 in wins over DePaul and Marquette. But they held Xavier to 34 percent shooting in the first half and never let it mount a rally in the second. The 65 points allowed were the fewest since they gave up 53 to Saint Joseph's on Dec. 2.

"We just kind of lost it," Wright said. "You just can't say, 'we're going to play defense now,' when you haven't done it for three weeks."

UP NEXT

Xavier hosts No. 25 Creighton on Saturday.

The Wildcats head to Madison Square Garden to play St. John's on Saturday.

___

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Booth scores 21, No. 1 Villanova routs No. 10 Xavier 89-65
Phil Booth hit five 3s and scored 21 points and Jalen Brunson had 17 to lead No. 1 Villanova to an 89-65 win over Xavier on Wednesday night
10:03PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Miami fights off fatigue, Pacers to hold on for 114-106 win
Goran Dragic scored 20 points and Wayne Ellington made the decisive 3-pointer with 23.2 seconds left Wednesday to give Miami a 114-106 victory at Indiana
9:56PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Joe Arpaio points to political traits he shares with Trump
Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio has pointed to the political qualities his shares with President Donald Trump a day after announcing his plans for a Senate campaign
9:46PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
WWE wants UFC star Rousey to jump from octagon to ring
UFC star Ronda Rousey's next fight could come in a WWE ring
8:19PM ( 2 hours ago )
Wenger manages Arsenal in cup semi while sitting with media
The strain of playing five games in two weeks caught up with Arsenal and Chelsea as they labored to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal on Wednesday
8:17PM ( 2 hours ago )
Vikings put faith in Forbath's leg, as Lutz satisfies Saints
Vikings enter playoffs with faith in Forbath's leg, as Lutz satisfies Saints
7:32PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
For moms of boys, mixed emotions over sexual misconduct saga
Of the many American women dismayed by the wave of sexual misconduct scandals, there's a subgroup with distinctive hopes and fears: mothers of boys
2:00PM ( 8 hours ago )
Georgetown's Ewing tops St. John's Mullin 1 more time at MSG
Patrick Ewing returned to Madison Square Garden and got the better of Chris Mullin and St. John's one more time in a throwback to their Big East days of the 1980s
8:58AM ( 13 hours ago )
Curry's effect on Warriors even more apparent since injury
Stephen Curry's mere presence on the court makes every Warrior better, and that's become even clearer since he returned from injury
2:11AM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Iowa coach Ferentz faces an unusual rival: his neighbors
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz is preparing to battle an unlikely off-season opponent: his next-door neighbors
12:08PM ( 10 hours ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Among 10 Things to Know: Democratic senators' report warns of Russian meddling across Europe; Federal judge blocks Trump decision to end young immigrant program; After Olympic deal, South Korea floats summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un
6:03AM ( 16 hours ago )
Titans confident with Marcus Mariota doing bit of everything
Marcus Mariota is a winner. The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner always has been, even if his Titans weren't winning. Now Tennessee's third-year quarterback is healthy and doing a bit of everything to lead the Titans to victories when it matters most.
7:47PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
Villanova returns to No. 1 in reshuffled AP Top 25 poll
Villanova returned to No. 1 in the new AP Top 25 poll after falling out of the top spot for a week
12:02PM ( 2 days ago )
Overachieving Ohio State stuns No. 1 Michigan State 80-64
Keita Bates-Diop scored a career-high 32 points as Ohio State stunned No. 1 Michigan State 80-64 on Sunday
9:39PM ( 3 days ago )
Over-achieving Ohio State stuns No. 1 Michigan State 80-64
Keita Bates-Diop scored a career-high 32 points as Ohio State stunned No. 1 Michigan State 80-64 on Sunday
6:48PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Miami fights off fatigue, Pacers to hold on for 114-106 win
Goran Dragic scored 20 points and Wayne Ellington made the decisive 3-pointer with 23.2 seconds left Wednesday to give Miami a 114-106 victory at Indiana
9:56PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Joe Arpaio points to political traits he shares with Trump
Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio has pointed to the political qualities his shares with President Donald Trump a day after announcing his plans for a Senate campaign
9:46PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Warriors' Stephen Curry ruled out after reinjuring ankle
Golden State star Stephen Curry is out for the Warriors' home game against the Clippers after he slipped during the shootaround and sprained his troublesome right ankle
9:33PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Texas guard Andrew Jones diagnosed with leukemia
Texas says sophomore guard Andrew Jones has leukemia and has already begun treatment
9:27PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Norway's PM makes business case of 'green economy' to Trump
Norway's prime minister is telling President Donald Trump that her country remains committed to the Paris climate agreement, making the business case of the "green economy" to the real estate developer-turned president
9:01PM ( 1 hour ago )