By Sean Kennedy
Drexel 61, UNC-Wilmington 50
After losing a tightly-contested affair to Towson over the weekend, Drexel figured to have an easier go of things Monday night against a Seahawks squad that had entered play losers of 11 straight games. Just as in the teams’ earlier meeting, UNC-Wilmington didn’t make things especially easy, but the Dragons did manage to pull away in the latter part of the second half to earn the victory and send the Seahawks out into the snowy night with their 12th straight loss. I guess the number 12 is only good luck for the Seahawks at the professional level.
The Dragons received a solid performance from Tavon Allen, who looked to be recovering nicely from his ankle injury having put an exclamation point on the first half with a two-handed flush on the Dragons’ final possession of the opening 20 minutes. Allen also scored a team-high 17 points on the night, his second-straight game with as many points. Chris Fouch added 16 points for Drexel, with 13 of those points coming in the first half as he almost single-handedly kept the Dragons out in front early on. Drexel will host James Madison this weekend, attempting once again to move back to .500 in conference play.
Villanova 81, Xavier 58
The Villanova juggernaut keeps rolling through the new-look Big East as the Wildcats jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the game, and never trailed the rest of the way as they blew open the game in the second half for an easy win over the Musketeers. After hitting 5 threes against Temple, James Bell was once again an assassin for Villanova, sinking 6 of 10 triples to record a game-high 27 points. Darrun Hilliard added 17 points and JayVaughn Pinkston got into the act from downtown, hitting 3-3 from beyond the arc, despite entering the game just 5-24 on the season.
The Wildcats also played some fine defense, forcing 16 Xavier turnovers and holding the Musketeers to a season-low 22 points in first half. Villanova is just such a deep team that they can afford to keep up that pressure defense because guys like Dylan Ennis and Josh Hart are coming off the bench and not missing a beat; it makes for a really fun performance to watch and I’m sure it helps the camaraderie on the team with so many players contributing. Now winners of four-straight, Villanova will stay at home to take on Seton Hall this weekend.