No. 6 Xavier falls hard to No. 16 Villanova

Posted at 3:39 PM, Dec 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 21:15:45-05

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — A scary moment for Xavier freshman Edmond Sumner took all the wind out of the No. 6 Musketeers and No. 16 Villanova made a barrage of 3s to cruise to a 95-64 rout in their Big East opener Thursday afternoon.

Sumner was taken off the court on a stretcher after a hard fall minutes into the game. The young guard lay motionless on his back for several minutes until he finally raised his knees.

"Long term, he's going to be fine," Xavier coach Chris Mack said after the game. "He was walking and talking. Has a horrendous headache."

Sumner was driving to the basket when he collided in midair with Kris Jenkins and crashed to the court. Jenkins, 6-foot-6, 240-pounds, appeared to land on Sumner's head and drive it into the floor. Sumner, averaging 11.7 points, has been one of the top freshmen this year.

After that, though, the Musketeers (12-1, 0-1) turned from one of the young season's top basketball teams to a basket case on the way to their first loss. James Farr led Xavier with 15 points.

Ryan Arcidiacono hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points for Villanova (11-2. 1-0). Josh Hart scored the first 13 points of the second half for the Wildcats and had 15.

The two-time defending regular-season Big East championships and the 2015 tournament champs raced to a 20-point lead in the first half behind a 3-point happy offense.

Villanova's only two losses had come against Top 25 teams, falling to No. 3 Oklahoma and now-No. 5 Virginia. The Sooners routed the Wildcats by 23 points and Virginia pulled away late in an 86-75 win.

The Wildcats made 12 of 44 3s combined in those two games, a key reason they couldn't hang with either team for long.

Against Xavier, the Wildcats connected with ease, making 13 of 25 overall.

The Musketeers, who beat two Top 25 teams en route to the best start in school history, missed 7 of 10 3s in the first half and didn't seem to recover emotionally from Sumner's injury.

Arcidiacono, a 37-percent 3-point shooter, hit four in the first 8 minutes of the game for a 23-8 lead. When Arcidiacono finally missed one, Jalen Brunson swooped in for the offensive rebound and sank two free throws that stretched the lead to 19 points.

The Wildcats made 15 of their first 19 shots overall from the floor.

Brunson didn't start because of a stomach virus, then made Xavier queasy with seven points in 7 minutes.

Hart, Villanova's leading scorer with 14.8 points, didn't attempt a shot in the first half.

No worries, he still found his points. He scored a layup off a turnover to open the second half, buried a 3, made a pair from the free-throw line and scored two more baskets for 13 points in just over 4 minutes.

Arcidiacono's sixth 3 made it 72-44 and showed the road to a conference championship again goes through Villanova.

Kris Jenkins scored 13 points and Daniel Ochefu had 12 points and 10 rebounds.


Xavier: Xavier has not defeated Villanova since it joined the Big East in 2013. (0-6). ... Xavier's 12-game winning streak was the longest since it won 16 straight in 2002-2003 season. ... The Musketeers have never been ranked higher than sixth in the Top 25 poll.

Villanova: The Wildcats have a career 156-247 record against ranked teams. ... Villanova is 6-7 against top 10 teams at the Pavilion. ... Coach Jay Wright is 52-66 against ranked teams at Villanova.


Xavier: Hosts Butler on Saturday.

Villanova: Plays at Creighton on Saturday.