No. 5 Villanova routs Ni­cholls

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - SPORTS - By Mike Cranston

PHILADEL­PHIA » Mikal Bridges set ca­reer highs with 23 points and four blocks, and No. 5 Villanova swat­ted away a school-record 13 shots in a 113-77 rout of Ni­cholls on Tues­day night.

Donte DiVin­cenzo added 20 points, Jalen Brun­son had 17 and the Wild­cats (2-0) had six play­ers in dou­ble fig­ures while shoot­ing 58 per­cent from the field in their sec­ond straight blowout of an in­fe­rior op­po­nent.

Zaqua­vian Smith scored 25 points and Roddy Peters had 17 for the Colonels (1-1), who trailed by as many as 38 points.

Villanova, which cruised past Columbia 75-60 on Fri­day, raced to a 22-9 lead and was never threat­ened. Bridges shot 4 of 7 from 3-point range and the Wild­cats were 13 of 30 from be­hind

the arc.

The Colonels, picked to fin­ish 10th out of 13 teams in the South­land Con­fer­ence, en­tered as a 32-point un­der­dog and were quickly over­whelmed in the schools’ first meet­ing.

With just over 8 min­utes re­main­ing in the first half, Ni­cholls had more turnovers (7) than field goals (5) as they fell be­hind 35-11.

The most im­pres­sive Villanova se­quence came when Bridges had two blocks and Omari Spell­man one on the same pos­ses­sion, bring­ing the crowd and the Wild­cats bench to their feet.

Spell­man fin­ished with four blocks. BIG PIC­TURE » Plenty of high­light dunks and im­pres­sive blocks in two easy wins to start the sea­son. The Wild­cats have a lot of weapons, but have yet to be tested.

RE­JECTED

The Wild­cats’ pre­vi­ous team record was 12 blocks, done four times and most re­cently against Delaware in the 2000 NIT. The in­di­vid­ual mark is 10 blocks by Harold Press­ley against Prov­i­dence on Jan. 11, 1986.

DE­FENSE MIA

Ni­cholls ranked 335th out of 351 teams last sea­son by al­low­ing 82.1 points a game. And while they won their opener 111-106 over Texas-Rio Grande Val­ley, they couldn’t out­shoot Villanova.

The Wild­cats scored at will for much of the night, get­ting good looks in­side and open 3s from the perime­ter. The Colonels tried to push the pace, but they fin­ished with 17 turnovers and drives to the rim of­ten ended with a blocked shot.

UP NEXT

Villanova faces Lafayette in Allentown, Penn­syl­va­nia, on Fri­day be­fore trav­el­ing to the Ba­hamas for three games in the Bat­tle for At­lantis next week. The Wild­cats could play No. 19 Pur­due and No. 3 Ari­zona in the last two rounds.

MATT SLOCUM — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Villanova’s Mikal Bridges, right, goes up to block a shot by Ni­cholls State’s Roddy Peters dur­ing the first half of Tues­day night’s col­lege basketball game.

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