Blue Hens can’t keep up with Wildcats in 78-48 loss

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Delaware’s Marvin King-Davis grabs a rebound from Villanova’s Darryl Reynolds (45) during the second half at The Pavilion, in Radnor, Pa., on Dec. 22. Villanova won, 78-48.

VILLANOVA, Pa. — No. 17 Villanova used a sizzling three-point shooting performance to race out to a 21-point halftime lead and cruised to a 78-48 men’s basketball victory over Delaware Tuesday night at The Pavilion.

The Wildcats (9-2) knocked down 11 of 21 shots from behind the arc in the first half, erasing an early 10-point deficit to take a 47-26 lead into the break. Villanova led by at least 16 points throughout the second half while winning its 32nd consecutive game at The Pavilion.

Josh Hart finished with team-highs of 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Wildcats, while Jalen Brunson added 13 points and Ryan Arcidiacono chipped in with 11. Villanova cooled off in the second half to finish 13 of 35 from three-point range, but held a 36-26 rebounding advantage and assisted on 20 of its 27 baskets.

“They are obviously a very talented basketball team,” said Delaware coach Monté Ross. “I’m proud of our effort and the way they competed. Kory (Holden) had his second straight good game with the exception of his turnovers, but we’re asking him to do a lot right now. We had to pick our poison defensively; we wanted to make them hit tough shots but credit to them for knocking them down.”

Blue Hen guard Kory Holden, the current CAA Co-Player of the Week following his 35-point performance at Boston College, scored a game-high 23 points and knocked down six three-pointers for the second consecutive game. However the sophomore, who faced Villanova pressure throughout the game, finished with just one assist and eight turnovers in 38 minutes for Delaware (5-5).

Cazmon Hayes added 14 points, all but two in the first half, for the Hens.

Delaware opened the game by sinking its first four three-point attempts, including the final three by Holden, to take an early 12-2 lead over the Wildcats three minutes into the contest. But Villanova quickly answered with a 16-point run, including nine straight on three triples from Brunson, to go in front 18-12 at the 12:37 mark.

It was a 10-point game before Hart knocked down consecutive three-pointers to increase the margin to 34-20 with four minutes to play in the half, while two free throws by Phil Booth with 1.5 seconds to play gave Villanova its largest lead of the period and sent the Wildcats to the half up 21.

The Hens played Villanova even through the first 10 minutes of the second half, as a Holden three-pointer made it a 52-36 game with 13:37 to play. But Delaware would not get closer, while the Wildcats took their largest lead of the night at 76-44 on a Mikal Bridges three-pointer with 2:54 to go.

Delaware will take the next week off for the holidays before playing its final non-conference game of the season next Tuesday at Buffalo at 7 p.m.

Free throws

Delaware fell to 0-32 all-time vs. ranked teams. … Villanova leads the all-time series 14-0, with wins in each of the last seven years. … Holden reached double figures for the sixth straight game. … Delaware lost the rebounding battle for just the second time this season.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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