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Villanova overpowers Monmouth, 83-56

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Monmouth's up-tempo game plan was doomed to failure.

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Monmouth's up-tempo game plan was doomed to failure.

The host Hawks never could overcome Villanova's size - and talent - advantages by running the Wildcats into the hardwood.

In this clash of teams heading in opposite directions, Villanova overpowered the Hawks, 83-56, Saturday night behind a barrage of 15 three-pointers.

"They were smaller and quicker than us, but we were bigger and stronger and just wore them down after a while," 'Nova coach Jay Wright said of Monmouth. "Give them credit. They played us tough. They hung in."

It was the fourth straight win for Villanova (8-4) and the fourth straight loss for Monmouth (5-7).

A crowd of 3,989, largest in the three-year history of Monmouth's Multi-Purpose Athletic Center, witnessed a game that turned lopsided after a 44-29 first half. In a series dating back to 1981, the Wildcats have won all nine clashes, by margins as large as 48 points and as small as 13.

"Villanova's just a bigger, stronger Big East team," Monmouth coach King Rice said. "We're struggling a bit right now. But I'm proud of our guys. We fought for every ball."

James Bell powered Villanova with 15 points (4-for-6 three-point shooting) and five rebounds.

"James, he's our guy, he's our leader, he's our rock," Wright said.

"We just played our game," Bell said. "We forced turnovers [23] and took advantage."

Accuracy was key. The Wildcats were 15 of 22 (an eye-opening 68.2 percent) from behind the arc. In addition to Bell's 4 for 6, Ryan Arcidiacono went 3 for 5, Tony Chennault 3 for 3, JayVaughn Pinkston 2 for 2, and Achraf Yacoubou 2 for 4.

Andrew Nicholas, a 6-6 sophomore from Wrightsville, Pa., led the Hawks with 16 points. He was 4 of 8 on three-pointers.

Monmouth led just twice, in the game's earliest moments.

The gap went to 44-29 at the break as Chennault netted five points in the closing 36 seconds.

It was 61-40 at eight minutes of the second half and the rout was on as play deteriorated.