PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Darrun Hilliard scored 19 points to lead No. 6 Villanova to a dominating 77-59 victory over Georgetown on Saturday, preserving the Wildcats’ hopes of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
JayVaughn Pinkston added 13 points, and James Bell and Ryan Arcidiacono had 11 apiece for the Wildcats (28-3, 16-2), who won their sixth straight game while tying the 2005-06 team for second-most wins in program history. Villanova’s 16 Big East wins are the most in school history.
The 18-point win marked the largest margin of victory for Villanova in a Big East game between the teams.
Markel Starks scored 20 points for the Hoyas (17-13, 8-10), who are in jeopardy of failing to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 14 points and Aaron Bowen had 13 for Georgetown.
Georgetown needs a run in the Big East Tournament to secure a fifth straight NCAA bid. The Hoyas, who are the No. 7 seed, open the tournament Wednesday night.
Villanova, meantime, is in position for a No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament with a good run in the conference tournament. The Wildcats, who were helped by Kansas’ loss on Saturday, already have secured the Big East regular-season title and the top seed in the conference tournament. Villanova opens play in the Big East tournament Thursday.
Villanova, which led 42-29 at halftime, upped its advantage to 20 points when Arcidiacono made two 3-pointers on consecutive Villanova possessions to give the Wildcats a 55-35 lead with 13:02 remaining.
The Hoyas never got it under double-digits the rest of the way.
The Wildcats took control with a strong first half.
Bell’s four-point play with 49.8 seconds left in the half gave Villanova its largest lead of the period, 42-27. Bell had 11 points in the half for the Wildcats, who shot 52 percent from the field and 57 percent from the arc in the opening 20 minutes.
Bowen had nine points before the break to pace Georgetown, which battled foul trouble in the first half. Starks, who entered averaging a team-best 17 points per game, picked up his third foul with 6:40 to play before intermission. Jabril Trawick also had three fouls before the break.
There were some hard fouls in this one that was reminiscent of the old Big East when these teams developed a fierce rivalry that has remained with the incarnation of the new basketball-only Big East this season.
Smith-Rivera suffered an apparent head injury 43 seconds into the second half and walked groggily to the bench before returning minutes later. Villanova’s Dylan Ennis limped off after going down hard with just over seven minutes to play. Neither team allowed the other easy layups in a game that featured 46 fouls.
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