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No. 8 Nova cruises past Butler

Villanova, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - James Bell and Darrun Hilliard both scored 11 points and No. 8 Villanova eased past Butler 67-48 on Wednesday to earn a share of the Big East lead.

Ryan Arcidiacono added nine points for the Wildcats (25-3, 13-2 Big East), who have won three straight since their second loss of the season to co-conference leader Creighton by 21 points on Feb. 16.

Bell, Tony Chennault and Nick McMahon were honored on Senior Night in Villanova's final on-campus game of the season.

Kellen Dunham had 12 points and Khyle Marshall scored 10 to lead Butler (12-16, 2-14).

The Bulldogs remained mired in their longest losing streak since the 1989-90 season, now seven games.

They forced overtime at home against Villanova in their first Big East game on Dec. 31, but lost.

This one wasn't that close, though neither team shot the lights out.

"They made it very difficult for us to get open looks all night," said Butler coach Brandon Miller. "I give a lot of credit to their defense and how hard they played but we didn't have it tonight."

Villanova was 7-of-29 from 3-point range (24.1 percent) and shot 39.7 percent overall. Both numbers were better than Butler's.

"I know that wasn't pretty, but we liked it," said Wildcats coach Jay Wright. "Butler is a tough, scrappy team that just isn't going to let you play pretty. You've got to find a way to grind against them, and I thought we did.

"We didn't find a way to get shots but I thought our defense was really strong and I liked how hard we played. I'll take that."

Villanova took a 12-point lead with an 11-2 run capped by Bell's 3-pointer to make it 25-13 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the first half. The Wildcats led 34-20 at halftime.

Butler was never within single digits after the Wildcats run but trimmed the lead to 11 twice early in the second half. The second time, Villanova replied by scoring 21 of the next 24 points.

Game Notes

Butler lost 11 straight in 1989-90 ... Villanova has three games left in the regular season, starting with Marquette on Sunday in Philadelphia ... Butler's two remaining games are at DePaul on March 6 and at home vs. Seton Hall two days later.