Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Villanova goes as its guards go.
When Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore are on, the 14th-ranked Wildcats are tough to beat. When they go cold, opposing teams tend to hang around.
Both of those things were on display Tuesday night inside Finneran Pavilion against visiting DePaul, although there was much more good than bad during Villanova’s 67-43 win over the Blue Demons.
Moore (16 points) and Gillespie (14) combined for 30 points (after combining for 47 Saturday), while Eric Dixon added 11 (nine in the second half).
The game was begging for someone to take control early, and Moore obliged.
The junior scored 11 of Villanova’s first 14 points. Nine of those points came on three shots from deep and the other started at the three-point line with a pump fake and ended with him skying for a dunk.
The Wildcats (15-5, 8-2 Big East) continued their hot shooting from Saturday’s win at Georgetown by making eight of their first 12 shots from three-point range.
Villanova led by 13 at the break and 14 early in the second half before DePaul roared back.
The Wildcats made just two of their first 12 shots (Moore missed five) in the second half as DePaul used a 12-4 to cut the deficit to six, 40-34, with 12:07 on the clock.
A Gillespie three-pointer stopped the run. He hit another two minutes later to extend the lead to 12 with 9:17 to go.
Villanova’s next made basket was perhaps the game’s dagger. Gillespie faked a defender down in the paint and swung a pass to the opposite corner, where Moore caught the ball and rose up for his fourth triple of the night. That put the Wildcats up 13, and DePaul never got any closer.
The Blue Demons (10-9, 1-8) made just two of their last 10 shots.
First to 8
The win was Villanova’s eighth Big East win in 10 tries. The Wildcats still trail Providence (6-1) in the conference standings due to win percentage.
No. 17 Providence and No. 21 Xavier meet Wednesday night in Cincinnati.
DePaul played its third straight game without senior guard Javon Freeman-Liberty (groin). Freeman-Liberty leads the Blue Demons with 21.1 points per game and torched Villanova for a career-high 34 points when the teams met Jan. 8 in Chicago, a 79-64 Villanova win.