Fourth-ranked Villanova defeats Saint Joseph’s, 94-53

James Demery (25) is fouled by Donte DiVincenzo (10) during the first half at Michael J. Hagan Arena. (Photo: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

Courtesy of SJUHawks.com

Fourth-ranked Villanova hit a school record 19 three-pointers and rolled to a 94-53 win over Saint Joseph’s in a Big 5 game at sold-out Hagan Arena.

The Wildcats (7-0; 2-0 Big 5) broke the game open with a 26-2 run that stretched over six minutes, at the end of the first half and beginning of the second, to take a commanding 55-29 lead with over 17 remaining in the contest. In the final seven minutes of the game, Villanova outscored the Hawks by a 20-3 margin.

James Demery led the Hawks (4-4; 0-1 Big 5) in scoring with 14 points, while freshman Taylor Funk had 13 off the bench on 5-for-9 shooting. Chris Clover scored 12 points and Shavar Newkirk had 10.

The Hawks kept it tight in the first half, but every time they seemed to get closer, Villanova had an answer. With Villanova leading 29-27 at 3:41, the Wildcats went on a 12-0 run with four straight three-pointers, including two from Omari Spellman, to take a 41-29 lead into the intermission.

Villanova shot 54.3 percent (19-of-35) from three-point range in the game while the Hawks were just 5-of-24. Phil Booth led all scorers with 17 points while Spellman had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

“They’re trying to win every play and we played to play. I’m not knocking us. That’s our group. But, if they want to know what the top of the city looks like, that’s what it looks like. We just had empty plays. It was the run at the end of the first half to start the second half,” ,” said Hawk coach Phil Martelli.  “They’re outstanding at spurting in the beginning of the second half, and we knew it and didn’t really answer it with a fervor.

“I appreciated the crowd support. We had a great crowd and great atmosphere, and I wish we had given a better account of ourselves.

“I never thought that we comfortably got into offense. We had a specific way that we wanted to run offense and it was more based on skill, and we came out of the first half with six turnovers. That meant that some of our skills met really good, aggressive defense,” said Martelli.

The Hawks get a week’s break before returning to action for their second straight Big 5 game at Temple, on Saturday, December 9.

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