Villanova, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Darrun Hilliard had 21 points and four steals and No. 8 Villanova dismantled DePaul 81-64, handing the Blue Demons their first conference loss of the season.
Ryan Arcidiacono scored 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, in Villanova's second straight convincing win following its first loss of the season, an overtime setback against Seton Hall on Jan. 3.
"It started with our defense and we really shared the ball well," Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. "I thought the first half was the key to the game."
The Wildcats (15-1, 3-1 Big East) outscored St. John's and DePaul by 35 points since losing to Seton Hall and have shot 23-for-52 from behind the arc during this two-game win streak.
Tommy Hamilton IV and Darrick Wood posted 12 and 10 points, respectively, for DePaul (9-8, 3-1), which entered Saturday's tilt as the only unbeaten team in the Big East.
DePaul turned the ball over four times during a 13-0 Villanova run early in the contest. Hilliard kicked off the spurt with 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and Daniel Ochefu's jam at 12:03 capped it and gave 'Nova a 16-5 lead.
Later in the half, the Blue Demons went nearly five minutes without scoring as Villanova extended its lead to 24-9. Arcidiacono then followed in Hilliard's footsteps with 3s on back-to-back touches during an 11-0 flurry.
A designed play at the end of the half, executed to perfection, sent the Wildcats into the locker rooms with a 21-point lead. After Hamilton made three free throws with two seconds to play, Josh Hart made a baseball pass from under his own basket all the way down the court. Ochefu caught it in traffic and quickly swung to a wide-open Arcidiacono, whose baseline jumper beat the buzzer.
The spread reached 34 points in the second half before Villanova pulled its starters and DePaul made the final score more respectable.
DePaul has now lost 49 in a row against AP-ranked opponents ... Its last win against a ranked foe came on Jan. 3, 2008, against then-No. 17 Villanova ... 'Nova has won nine straight meetings since then.