ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Jalen Brunson scored 18 points, Josh Hart had 16 and No. 2 Villanova beat lowly DePaul 75-62 on Monday night.
Brunson, a former Illinois prep star from nearby Lincolnshire, went 4 for 8 from the field and 8 for 9 at the free throw line in the Wildcats’ sixth straight victory. Mikal Bridges added 15 points, and Kris Jenkins finished with 13.
Villanova (25-2, 12-2 Big East) played without Darryl Reynolds for the second straight game due to a rib injury, but the defending national champions still had more than enough to put away last-place DePaul (8-18, 1-12). Reynolds, a senior forward who started the Wildcats’ first 25 games, is day to day.
The Blue Demons shot 38 percent (22 for 58) from the field in their ninth straight loss. They also committed 14 turnovers, leading to 16 points for the opportunistic Wildcats.
Villanova grabbed control with an 11-1 run in the first half and then poured it on as DePaul repeatedly clanged shots off the rim and backboard. Brunson made a couple of 3-pointers from the same corner to help the Wildcats open a 33-16 lead with 3:16 left.
Brunson drew an ill-advised foul on Chris Harrison-Docks near midcourt in the final seconds and hit two foul shots to make it 39-18 at the break. The Blue Demons had more turnovers (nine) then field goals (seven) at halftime.
It was more of the same in the second half. Bridges’ dunk made it 48-21 with 13:03 left for Villanova’s biggest lead.
Villanova: Ho-hum, just more of the same for the deep Wildcats, who simply picked apart the Blue Demons for much of the night. Villanova had 12 assists on 21 field goals and went 26 for 32 at the line.
DePaul: Coach Dave Leitao is in the second season of his second stint at the school, and there is plenty of work to do. The Blue Demons have lost their last 14 games against the Wildcats.
Villanova closes out a three-game road trip with a visit to Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon.
DePaul visits No. 24 Butler on Sunday afternoon.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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