Justin Moore hit six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 27 points to lift No. 4 Villanova easily past Mount St. Mary’s 91-51 in the season opener for both programs on Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Brandon Slater added a career-high 17 points, Jermaine Samuels also contributed 17 and Collin Gillespie had 13 for the Wildcats (1-0) in his return from a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee just before last year’s conference tournament.
Malik Jefferson led the Mountaineers (0-1) with 13 points and Nana Opoku added 11.
Villanova jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead and then extended it to 17-4 when Samuels drove to the basket and scored with 11:29 left in the first half.
Mount St. Mary’s struggled early against the Wildcats’ suffocating defense and trailed 22-7 before scoring six straight. The run was capped by Dakota Leffew’s three-point play with 8:22 remaining.
From there, Villanova went on an 11-0 spurt and pushed its advantage back to 20. Slater and Moore connected on consecutive 3-pointers for a 33-13 lead.
Villanova led 45-21 at halftime thanks in large part to Moore’s four 3-pointers and 17 points.
The Mountaineers didn’t have a player score more than five points and they committed nine turnovers.
Mount St. Mary’s scored the first six points of the second half, including a difficult 18-foot jumper by Jalen Benjamin.
Slater and Eric Dixon each hit two free throws, Caleb Daniels converted a layup and the Wildcats went ahead 51-27 with 16:23 remaining.
Leffew knocked down a jumper from the corner to close the Mountaineers within 56-31 with 13:40 to play.
Mezie Offurum soon threw down a two-handed dunk with 10:38 left and Mount St. Mary’s cut the deficit to 62-40.
Samuels responded with a jumper, Slater and Moore each added a trey as the Wildcats extended their lead to 30 with 9:02 remaining.
Slater’s fifth 3-pointer with 3:18 left gave the Wildcats a commanding 87-49 lead.
–Field Level Media
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