CHICAGO — The three-pointers started dropping early for 12th-ranked Villanova on Wednesday night and they did not stop as the Wildcats tied a season record from long distance in a 91-71 win at DePaul.
After knocking down 17 threes in their win Sunday against Temple, the Cats continued their dominance from downtown with 18 three-pointers, equaling the record set Nov. 21 against Middle Tennessee State.
“We just did a really good job of sharing the ball and knocking down threes,” Coach Jay Wright said.
Guard Collin Gillespie had the first bomb a little less than three minutes into the game, setting the tone for the evening. Six Villanova players had at least one from long distance as the Wildcats went 18-for-26 from long distance, shooting nearly 57% from the field.
The Cats (20-6, 9-4) grabbed a 46-26 halftime advantage powered by a sizzling 10-for-13 performance from downtown in the first half alone to put the game away against their Big East rival.
After a slow start for both teams, the Cats took the lead on what else, a three-pointer by guard Justin Moore with just over 13 minutes left in the first half to take a 13-10. Villanova never looked back, closing out the first half with 15-2 run.
As they have quite often this season, Villanova’s top duo of Gillespie and forward Saddiq Bey made their presence known as Bey had 20 points, going 7-for-13 from the field including five threes plus seven assists.
“He just makes good reads and when people come to help on him, he finds his teammates and when he is open, he is always prepared to shoot,” Wright said of Bey.
Gillespie had 17 points and six rebounds with Moore also dropping in 17. Forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree contributed a season-high 11 points, going 4-for-4 from the field.
“I wasn’t really worried about scoring, I knew if I rebounded and played my position the best I could, good things would happen,” Cosby-Roundtree said.
The Cats came within one of a team record of 19 three-pointers set twice in 2017-18.
DePaul’s Jalen Coleman-Lands had 17 points for the Blue Demons (13-13, 1-12) who continued a downward spiral after a strong start to the season.
After a three-game losing streak at the start of the month, Villanova has won three straight with five games left in the regular season.
The blowout for the Cats was much different than the last time the two teams squared off as the Wildcats needed overtime to squeeze out a 79-75 win. After the game, Wright noted that in the first game, the Blue Demons had a 37-33 rebounding advantage, but Wednesday the Wildcats had a 35-28 under the boards.
“That was the big difference besides the threes,” Wright said.