No. 5 Villanova routs Nicholls
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.