PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- A 37-9 first half burst helped carry No. 1 seed Villanova (31-4 overall) to an 87-61 victory over No. 16 seed Radford in an NCAA Tournament East Regional First Round game Thursday night. The Wildcats shot a shade under 59 percent (.596, 31-of-52) in cruising past the Highlanders in the first ever meeting between the two programs.
"We're happy with how we played," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "We have great respect for Radford -- that's not an easy team to play, They have a great culture and are very well coached. I thought our captains really had us ready tonight.
"I was at Hofstra and that experience helps me communicate to our teams how good these teams are."
Junior guard Jalen Brunson led the balanced Wildcats attack with 16 points. In all, six different Villanova players scored in double figures as the Wildcats connected on 14-of-27 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc (.519). It was the 20th time in 35 outings this season that the `Cats converted a dozen or more triples in a contest.
When Eric Paschall dropped in a 3-pointer in the second half, it was the 400th of the season for VU. The Wildcats are only the sixth school in NCAA Division I history to make 400 or more 3-pointers in a single season.
After misfiring on their first attempt from beyond the 3-point arc, Villanova made its next four with four different players connecting -- Phil Booth, Mikal Bridges, Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo. It took a 12-7 lead into the first official timeout after 4:30 had been played.
The Wildcats were able to extend that advantage to 18-7 with Brunson doing more damage with four points. Villanova kept up the heat at both ends, extending its advantage to 37-12. A late burst by the Highlanders narrowed the gap to 44-23 at halftime.
Brunson's 12 points set the scoring pace for the Wildcats.
The Highlanders scored the first bucket of the second half but it wasn't long before Villanova reasserted itself, this time with a 9-0 surge to push their lead to 58-29 with 14:45 to play in the second half.
The Wildcats were never threatened again.
Among the noteworthy efforts on this night was solid work from a trio of players appearing in their first NCAA Tournament contest. Redshirt freshman Omari Spellman added 10 points and seven rebounds; freshman Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree finished with 10 points and three blocked shots in 16 minutes of action; and rookie Collin Gillespie ended the evening with nine points and one steal.
No Wildcat logged more than the 29 minutes of Eric Paschall (11 points, five rebounds).
The Wildcats advance to meet the winner of the evening's second game, between Alabama and Virginia Tech on Saturday here at PPG Paints Arena.
The 2017-18 Villanova Men's Basketball season is presented by KeyBank.