Top-ranked Villanova routs former Big East rival UConn 81-61

Villanova's Eric Paschall reacts during the during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Connecticut, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Jalen Brunson scored 23 points and top-ranked Villanova routed former Big East rival UConn 81-61 on Saturday.

Donte DiVincenzo added 17 points for the Wildcats (18-1), who complete their non-conference schedule at 13-0.

Jalen Adams scored 19 for UConn (10-9), which has now lost five games this season by at least 20 points.

The Wildcats hit just two of their first 13 shots, but still led 13-5 after a pair of 3-pointers by DiVencenzo. A jumper from Adams brought the Huskies within five points at 21-16.

Related: Capitol Report ‘After Hours’: Joe D’Ambrosio talks UConn athletics, the XL Center, and the 2018 Governor’s race

But Villanova scored 18 of the final 20 points before intermission and the rout was on. A lob from Brunson to Eric Paschell gave the Wildcats their first double-digit lead at 26-16. They headed to halftime up 39-18 and the sellout crowd serenaded the Huskies with a chorus of boos.

Another 3-pointer from DiVincenzo gave Villanova a 70-39 lead midway through the second half, and sent many of those same fans to the exits.

Since the breakup of the old Big East, both teams have won national titles — UConn in 2014 and Villanova in 2016. But the programs seem to be headed in opposite directions. The Wildcats are 147-18 since joining the new Big East and 50-5 since the start of the 2016-17season. UConn is 103-60 in the same span, but just 26-26 the last two seasons.

BIG PICTURE

Villanova: Villanova shot 41 percent, well below their season average of just under 52 percent. But they held the Huskies to 34 percent and dominated the glass, outrebounding UConn 48-32, including 16-8 on the offensive end. The Wildcats are 62-3 in regular-season non-conference games since 2013-14.

UConn: Terry Larrier (15.3 ppg) took an elbow to the face earlier this month against UCF and has been suffering headaches that caused him to miss Tuesday’s loss at Memphis. He was diagnosed with a fracture to his sinus wall and wore a mask on Saturday, scoring six points in 34 minutes. UConn says he may have to undergo a “procedure” to fix the problem.

UP NEXT

Villanova: The Wildcats return to Big East action on Tuesday, hosting Providence.

UConn. The Huskies return to campus on Thursday to host SMU.

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