Feb. 5, 2013
ROSEMONT, ILL. - The Villanova Wildcats used a second half offensive explosion to down the DePaul Blue Demons tonight at AllState Arena. Villanova improved to 14-9 overall, 5-5 in the BIG EAST while DePaul drops to 10-12 overall, 1-8 in conference action.
Sophomore Ryan Arcidiacono led the `Cats with 23 points while Darrun Hilliard added 17 points and James Bell 16 more. The Wildcats sank .596 of their attempts from the field on the night and opened the second half by draining 22-of-27 to open up a double-digit lead that grew to 27 points in the final minutes.
"That might have been our best game of the year," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "We moved the basketball and handled their press." The game was tied at the half before VU used a 54-point run over the final 20 minutes to secure the victory. VU also notched a season-high 18 assists.
The Wildcats were able to craft an early 9-4 lead on the strength of five points from junior James Bell. Another triple from Bell helped the Wildcats grab a 16-9 lead before a pair of 3-pointers, the latter by forward Donnavan Kirk narrowed the Blue Demons' deficit to 16-15 with 10:55 to play in the first half.
The contest went back and forth over the next few minutes and was deadlocked at 23 with just over six minutes to play in the opening half. The Blue Demons' Cleveland Melvin began to heat up down low, scoring six points to help pull DePaul into a tie.
DePaul drained five of its first nine 3-point attempts, grabbing the lead at 29-26 with 5:21 to go in the first period.
The Wildcats used a 6-0 spurt that was capped by a nifty drive and finish from Darrun Hilliard to move out to a 34-30 lead but the Blue Demons used more long range shooting and scoring from Melvin on the interior to deadlock matters at 40 after 20 minutes.
Ryan Arcidiacano led the Wildcats in first half scoring with 10 points while Bell added eight more. VU connected on 12-of-25 from the field but was hurt by 10 turnovers, which led to 15 Blue Demon points.
Melvin carried the scoring load for DePaul with 13 points while Worrel Clahar added nine points. DePaul was 7-of-14 (.500) from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half, outdoing its previous BIG EAST high for 3-point goals in a game this season.
"We weren't really upset at halftime," stated Wright. "Our issue has been scoring points and we were able to do that in the first half. We just had to cut down on the turnovers, which we did (three in the second half)."
Villanova reeled off an 11-3 run to open the second half as Arcidiacono netted five points and Bell added a driving basket. With 17:45 to play in the second half, the Wildcats held a 51-43 lead.
The Wildcats converted 11-of-12 from the field over the first eight minutes of the second half and built a 65-53 advantage.
The offensive efficiency did not end there. The Wildcats scored 18 of the next 25 points and had itself an 83-60 lead with 5:56 left to play in the period. Arcidiacono set the scoring pace.
The Wildcats glided home to their largest margin of victory in a BIG EAST game this season. Next up is a home game Saturday against USF (3:00 p.m./ESPNU).