PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Mikal Bridges scored 18 points, Phil Booth had 17 points and No. 4 Villanova hit 10 straight 3-pointers in a record performance and a 94-53 romp over Saint Joseph’s on Saturday night.
Omari Spellman buried a 3 with 3:06 left to give the Wildcats their school-record 18th 3-pointer of the game. Villanova sank 19 3s, topping the 17 hit on Nov. 27, 2005 vs. Lehigh.
SJU fans love to chant, “The Hawk Will Never Die!”
The bird needed some serious CPR.
Booth led the charge early for the Wildcats (8-0) against their Big 5 rivals. The Wildcats, Hawks, La Salle, Temple and Penn comprise the city series field. The Wildcats have emerged as the class of the city and won for the whopping 20th straight time in the series. They’ve won 19 of those games by at least 10 points and haven’t been defeated by a Philly team since Temple won on Dec. 5, 2012.
The Hawks (4-4) put up a spirited fight in front of 4,200 fans at their cozy arena for the first 17 minutes and had the student section going wild in the bleachers. James Demery, who led the Hawks with 14 points, even converted a three-point play to pull SJU to 29-27 and the Hawks took aim on their first win in the series since Dec. 17, 2011.
Well, it was fun for the Hawks while it lasted.
Booth hit a 3, Bridges hit a 3 and Spellman hit two 3s. The 12-0 run that closed to half stretched to 17-0 in the second and 30-4 overall as the Wildcats pulled away from behind the arc. Booth, Bridges and Spellman each hit four 3s. Spellman had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wildcats led by 32 late in the second half on the strength of 16 3s; the Hawks had just 20 baskets overall.
Saint Joseph’s was a bit undermanned with Charlie Brown Jr. (left wrist) and Lamarr Kimble (left foot) out with injuries. Saint Joe’s has three more games left to put this one behind them before it opens the Atlantic 10 schedule.
Villanova just keeps on rolling and flexed its city muscle against lightweight competition. Once representing the best of Philadelphia basketball, the Big 5 is nothing more than an excuse these days for the Wildcats to pad their nonconference schedule.
Spellman was benched for the first 3:19 of the game for missing weight. Donte DiVincenzo got the start.
Saint Joseph’s has a week off to regroup before it plays Saturday at Temple.
Villanova heads to Madison Square Garden to play No. 15 Gonzaga in the Jimmy V Classic. It’s the first career game in the series. The Wildcats then finish the Big 5 season with games against La Salle and Temple.
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