It took just 20 minutes Wednesday night to wonder: How did Villanova lose by 20 to Creighton in Omaha three weeks earlier?

» READ MORE: Villanova goes ice-cold down the stretch, loses 79-59 to Creighton

The action on the floor inside Finneran Pavilion provided an answer. It’s a simple formula, really. Make your shots. Play defense. Easy does it.

Villanova did neither of those things in Nebraska last month. They did both Wednesday night and rolled by a score of 75-41 to move into a tie atop the Big East standings as the conference slate gets moving.

Justin Moore (22 points) and Jermaine Samuels (18) carried the scoring load while Collin Gillespie (11 points) was in foul trouble for most of the night. Brandon Slater added 10 for the Wildcats.

Villanova (10-4, 3-1 Big East) led 36-22 at the half and made scoring difficult for Creighton (10-4, 2-1).

Defense does it

It’s no secret Villanova has struggled to make shots so far in 2021-22. But it has been dominant at times on the defensive end.

Entering Wednesday night, opponents had scored just 57.4 points per game during their nine wins.

The holes that Creighton found in Villanova’s defense a few weeks ago weren’t there Wednesday. Creighton turned it over 10 times in the first half and went six minutes without scoring as Villanova built its lead and never looked back.

Creighton managed just 19 points in the second half. While it was Villanova that went cold in Omaha last month, Creighton made just three of their 24 attempts from beyond the arc Wednesday night and shot 35.6% overall.

Creighton’s Ryan Hawkins was held scoreless after leading Creighton with 19 points when Villanova lost in Omaha. Wright credited Moore with shutting Hawkins down.

“We had to get tougher defensively,” Moore said.

“The film said it all,” Samuels said.

Creighton coach Greg McDermott credited Villanova’s effort, saying, “They were just so much better than us tonight. We looked like a bunch of kids.”

No Gillespie, no problem

Gillespie picked up his second foul less than 10 minutes into the first half on a questionable offensive foul call. Wright took Gillespie out to avoid picking up his third.

The Wildcats were forced to play a good chunk of the first half Saturday at Seton Hall when Gillespie had two first-half fouls and played well.

Wednesday night, they didn’t need his services until the second half. Villanova played the final 10 minutes, 50 seconds of the first half without Gillespie and outscored Creighton 18-7 to take a 14-point lead at the break.

“It’s a credit to Justin Moore’s leadership, realizing Collin is out and saying, ‘I’m gonna take over,’” Villanova coach Jay Wright said.

Gillespie, who entered Wednesday leading Villanova with 16.5 points per game, took just one shot in the first half and didn’t score. He finished with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting thanks to a stretch of makes in the second half when the game was already out of reach.