VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Maalik Wayns came off the bench to score 12 points and lead Villanova to a 73-52 victory over American University on Thursday night.
JayVaughn Pinkston also had 12 points for Villanova (7-5), which had lost five of seven games entering Thursday. Wayns, who averages a team-best 17.9 points, had started the previous 11 games but was kept out of the opening lineup due to a virus. He added nine assists.
The Eagles were playing without second-leading scorer Troy Brewer (14.1 ppg), who missed his second straight game with turf toe.
His replacement, Blake Jolivette, tallied a career-high 19 points to pace all scorers. Charles Hinkle, who ranks seventh in the country in scoring (21.7 points), netted 17 points for American (8-5).
It was the third straight loss for American.
The game was the final one on Villanova’s nonconference slate before it begins Big East play next Wednesday at West Virginia.
The Eagles cut into Villanova’s nine-point halftime lead, drawing within 38-33 two minutes after the break as the Wildcats missed their first nine shots of the second half.
But Villanova recovered to score nine straight points, capped by a Wayns 17-foot jumper, to take their largest lead, 47-33, with 13:54 seconds left. The Eagles never got closer the rest of the way.
The Wildcats led 22-20 with 7 ½ minutes left in the first half before Wayns got going. The Wildcats’ junior point guard scored six of the next eight points to help Villanova outscore American 14-4 over a nearly five-minute span to take its biggest lead, 36-24, with 2:48 left in the half.
Villanova has won all nine meetings versus the Eagles.
Former Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown was among those in attendance. Also watching the game was former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino as the Wildcats honored former players and coaches at halftime on Alumni Night.
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