Villanova, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Arcidiacono led the way with 18 points and six assists as No. 5 Villanova cruised past Xavier for an 88-75 win on Wednesday.
Dylan Ennis went 5-of-8 from 3-point range to finish with 17 points and Josh Hart chipped in with 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Wildcats (16-1, 4-1 Big East), who have won three straight following their lone blemish of the season, a 66-61 overtime loss to Seton Hall on Jan. 3.
"What a tough game. Coming out and making the start we did, hitting the threes and getting the lead was big," Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. "We hung on in the second even though they outplayed us."
Matt Stainbrook scored 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and Jalen Reynolds contributed 14 points, five boards and three blocks for the Musketeers (11-6, 2-3), who have dropped three of their last four games.
"I was proud that our team fought and continued to fight in the second half; didn't cash it in," said Xavier head coach Chris Mack. "There aren't too many teams, if any, that are going to come into this building and get a win."
Darrun Hilliard, Arcidiacono and Ennis each made a 3-pointer as the Wildcats jumped out to an 11-2 lead less than four minutes into the game.
After J.P. Macura brought the Musketeers within six points, Villanova answered with a 12-2 run that featured seven straight points from Hart for a 34-17 lead.
The Wildcats maintained its lead as the game was 45-27 at halftime.
Daniel Ochefu capped a 9-0 spurt early in the second half with a layup, giving Villanova a 59-36 lead with 14 minutes to play.
Dee Davis, however, scored the first seven points of Xavier's 13-2 burst that cut the deficit to 12.
Stainbrook scored six points, Myles Davis hit a jumper and Reynolds dunked to make it a 67-57 game with seven minutes to play.
JayVaughn Pinkston's two free throws kickstarted an 8-0 run with under five minutes to play and the Wildcats led comfortably the rest of the way.
Pinkston and Hilliard had 12 and 10 points, respectively, in the win ... Villanova leads the all-time series, 19-4 ... The Wildcats are 37-1 when scoring 70 points or more in a game since the start of the 2013-14 season and are 14-0 when doing so this season ... Xavier owned a 46-18 advantage for points in the paint.