Where: The Pavilion, Villanova, Penn.
Kris Jenkins scored 16 points to lift Villanova to a record-setting 76-46 victory over Seton Hall on Monday night at The Pavilion. Jalen Brunson added 13 points and Josh Hart had 11 for the Wildcats (18-1, 6-1 Big East), who returned to No. 1 in the country earlier in the day and then secured their 47th straight victory at their on-campus arena on the Main Line.
“It’s not that big of a deal this time,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said of moving back to No. 1 after a week at No. 3. “We were more concerned about Seton Hall. We found out (about being No. 1) at our pregame meal.”
How about 47 straight wins?
“Right now, that doesn’t do anything for us,” Wright said. “Trust me, at the end of the year we’ll talk and we take great pride in that. … It just doesn’t do anything for us now.”
Eric Paschall and Donte DiVincenzo each scored 10 points, and Darryl Reynolds had eight points and nine rebounds for Villanova.
Entering the game, Villanova had matched a program record of 46 home wins in a row, set between 2007 and 2011. The new streak began on Feb. 9, 2013, with a 68-40 win over South Florida. Villanova’s seniors — Hart, Jenkins and Reynolds — have never lost here.
“Just a number,” Jenkins said of the No. 1 ranking. “We just focus on getting better every day or we’ll lose our next game.”
Desi Rodriguez led Seton Hall (12-6, 2-4) with 15 points and Angel Delgado added eight points and six rebounds. Delgado had registered double-doubles in his last 11 games.
“That’s a tough team to play on a short one day (preparation),” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “They’re the No. 1 team in the country for a reason.”
The Pirates dropped all three games on their six-day mini-road trip with previous losses at Marquette and Providence. In addition, it was their 15th consecutive loss to Villanova at The Pavilion dating to Feb. 26, 1994.
“We just played three in a row on the road,” Willard said. “It’s not an easy thing to do. I felt like I was back in the NBA.”
A 13-point halftime lead quickly was pushed to 19 in the opening minutes of the second half.
Brunson knocked down a long 3-pointer and Hart followed with a steal and dunk and then a short jumper in the lane for a 45-24 lead just 3:06 into the second half.
Seton Hall turned the ball over on its third straight possession and Paschall then hit a 3-pointer for a 48-24 lead.
Jenkins later drained back-to-back 3-pointers and Villanova led by 34 points at 65-31 with 10:33 remaining.
From there, Villanova cruised.
Seton Hall made just 16 of 55 shots from the field (29.1 percent).
After slow starts in their last two games — wins over Xavier and at St. John’s — the Wildcats sputtered a bit early before increasing their intensity.
This time, it was completely different.
“Just set the tone early against a great defensive Seton Hall team,” said Reynolds, who swept seven offensive rebounds. “They’re great on the boards and they’re an attacking team.”
Villanova started strong with tenacious team defense boosting it to a 17-5 advantage midway through the first half.
Seton Hall struggled mightily from the field, missing 11 of its first 12 shots.
The Wildcats later capped a 21-3 run and extended their lead to 25-7 after a three-point play from DiVincenzo.
The Pirates crept within 33-23 after Rodriguez connected on a 3-pointer with 1:01 left. But Hart responded with a clutch trey on the next possession, giving Villanova a 13-point cushion, 26-23, at halftime.
Villanova was 12 of 24 from the floor in the first half and Seton Hall was just 8 of 30.
NOTES: Villanova and Seton Hall wore special MLK patches on their jerseys in memory of Martin Luther King Jr. … Seton Hall has never defeated a No. 1-ranked team in the history of its program. … Villanova G Phil Booth sat out again with tendinitis in his left knee. Booth hasn’t played Nov. 17 against Western Michigan in the Gildan Charleson Classic and no timetable is set for his return. … Villanova notched its 1,700th win in program history. … Villanova hosts Providence on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center. Seton Hall returns home Sunday to face St. John’s.