Justin Moore scored 21 points, Jermaine Samuels added 15 and second-seeded Villanova defeated #15 seed Delaware 80-60 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament’s South Region Friday in Pittsburgh.
The Wildcats (27-7) will face seventh-seeded Ohio State (20-11) in the second round on Sunday.
Collin Gillespie chipped in with 14 points, Caleb Daniels added 13 and Eric Dixon had 12 for Villanova, which improved to 16-0 all-time against the Blue Hens.
Jyare Davis scored 17 points and Andrew Carr contributed 13 for Delaware (22-13), which fell to 0-6 in program history in the NCAA Tournament.
Dylan Painter drove to the basket and scored for a 15-8 Delaware lead with 11:26 remaining in the first half. Brandon Slater came back with a three-point play for the Wildcats to cut the deficit to four.
Villanova went ahead 20-19 when Daniels dropped in a 3-pointer from the corner with 7:41 left.
Ryan Allen responded with a tough 15-foot jumper as the Blue Hens regained a one-point advantage.
Gillespie hit a trey from the wing for a 25-23 lead with 3:50 to go. Villanova slowly pulled away with a 15-2 run and held a 35-25 lead at halftime thanks in large part to Samuels’ nine points.
Davis paced the Blue Hens with eight while leading scorer Jameer Nelson Jr. missed all seven of his shots. Nelson Jr. finished the game with eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.
Villanova opened the second half with eight straight points, including triples from Moore and Dixon, for a 43-25 advantage.
Carr made a trey for the Blue Hens to make it 46-30 with 16:39 left.
When Gillespie pump-faked and hit a 3-pointer with 14:19 to go, the Wildcats led 57-37.
Villanova head coach Jay Wright was whistled for a technical foul with 7:40 remaining, despite his team leading by 22 at the time.
The Blue Hens closed within 68-52 with 6:01 left after Allen’s driving layup. But Daniels converted a trey on Villanova’s next trip downcourt.