College basketball: No. 1 Villanova rolls in Big East opener

Villanova’s Jalen Brunson (1) tries to pass from the floor against DePaul’s Brandon Cyrus on Dec. 27.
(Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

Mikal Bridges scored 20 points, Phil Booth added 17 points and six assists, and No. 1 Villanova made it look easy, beating DePaul 103-85 on Wednesday at Chicago in the Big East opener for both teams.

The Wildcats (13-0, 1-0 Big East) closed in on last year’s program-record 14-0 start and gave coach Jay Wright his 399th victory in 17 seasons at Villanova.

Bridges and Booth each made four three-pointers, and the Wildcats nailed 15 of 31 from long range.


Chicago-area product Jalen Brunson had 16 points and five assists. Eric Paschall scored 16, and Villanova hit the 100-point mark for the third time this season.

Max Strus had 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists for DePaul (7-6, 0-1). Marin Maric added 17 points and 10 rebounds, but the Blue Demons dropped their 13th straight against ranked opponents and fell to 3-21 against No. 1 teams.

No. 6 Xavier 91, at Marquette 87: Trevon Blueitt had 23 points, J.P. Macura scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half and the Musketeers (13-1) survived a road test in their Big East opener. Xavier has won eight in a row.

Andrew Rowsey led the Golden Eagles (9-4, 0-1) with 31 points but missed an open three-pointer with 1:16 left with his team trailing 85-82.




at Cal State Northridge 93, San Diego Christian 63: Tavrion Dawson scored 33 points and the Matadors (2-11) shot 59.4% from the field and 61.9% (13 of 21) on three-point attempts to overwhelm the Hawks of the NAIA. Micheal Warren added 22 points for Northridge, making six of eight three-pointers.

Southland games scheduled for Thursday night:

UC Riverside at Utah Valley — 6 p.m. PST

New Mexico State at UC Irvine— 7 p.m.

Pepperdine at Santa Clara — 7 p.m.

Loyola Marymount at St. Mary’s — 8 p.m.