No. 6 Villanova romps past DePaul, 88-62

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) - Like other teams before them, DePaul simply couldn’t match up with Villanova’s talent and depth.

James Bell had 17 points and eight rebounds, Ryan Arcidiacono scored 14 points, and the sixth-ranked Wildcats won their fifth straight game, 88-62 over DePaul on Saturday.

The Wildcats (16-1, 5-0 Big East) made a whopping 19 of 26 shots (73 percent) in the second half as they continue to steamroll through the revamped conference. Villanova tied a season low with five turnovers.

The Blue Demons (10-9, 2-4) entered on a rare two-game conference winning streak, but failed to get three straight for the first time since 2006-07. Brandon Young led them with 13 points.

“We got outclassed today by a really good team,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. “It’s a measuring stick. That’s the level we’ve got to play at for longer stretches.”

Daniel Ochefu had 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting and six rebounds, and Josh Hart hit three 3-pointers and scored 13 points for the Wildcats.

“My coaches and my teammates do a great job being confident in myself,” Ochefu said. “I just respond to them having confidence in me.”

The Wildcats built a halftime lead without a point from their two leading scorers, JayVaughn Pinkston (16.1) and Darrun Hilliard (13.9).

Pinkston’s first basket was a crowd-pleasing dunk that gave the Wildcats a 40-28 lead. That followed Ochefu’s three-point play and Arcidiacono’s pull-up jumper that helped the Wildcats start to pull away.

Hilliard, in a 1-for-17 skid, hit a jumper for his first basket of the game, helping Villanova hit 7 of 8 shots to build a 13-point lead.

Arcidiacono and Hart connected on consecutive 3s midway through the half and Bell and Hart did the same to pile on late in the second for a 75-52 lead.

Arcidiacono tweaked his left knee in practice Thursday, then sat out the following day. He wore a protective sleeve on his left knee.

About the only sore point for Villanova came late in the game when Hart was hit with a flagrant foul and a technical.

“It gets chippy at times,” Hart said. “It’s just how you respond.”

The Wildcats had much more fun scoring on 13 of their first 18 possessions in the second than they did during a disjointed first half.

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