AP Sports Writer
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) -- With wintry weather slamming the East, Providence had to cancel its flight and bus to Villanova.
The Friars must have wanted to hitch any kind of ride home by halftime.
JayVaughn Pinkston scored 19 points, Dylan Ennis had 17 and No. 11 Villanova led all the way in a 91-61 romp over Providence on Sunday night.
Pinkston dunked off the opening tip, and the Wildcats (13-1, 2-0 Big East) simply dominated from there, thrashing the Friars (10-5, 0-2), who beat them twice last season. The Wildcats opened on a 9-0 run, and hit 10 of their first 11 shots to build a 24-point lead.
Bryce Cotton scored 25 points and was the lone highlight for the Friars. Cotton made all three 3-point attempts in the first half for 16 points and played hard until the end. Not that it mattered.
"We looked like we were in mud the whole game," Providence coach Ed Cooley said.
The Wildcats, emerging as the Big East favorite, won their eighth game of the season by 20-plus points.
"The key was just jumping on them early," coach Jay Wright said.
No doubt about that. They can thank their long-range game for the hefty cushion.
The Wildcats were shooting 32 percent from 3-point range this season, but connected with ease in the first half. Darrun Hilliard, Josh Hart and Ennis all hit two to help the Wildcats go 7 of 13 in the first half. They made 14 of 26 overall.
Because of quick foul trouble, James Bell played only 1 minute in the first half. But Villanova's second-leading scorer joined the 3-point parade in the second half, hitting two straight for a 59-30 lead.
The Friars have had decent success through the years against Villanova. The Friars had two three-point wins over the NCAA tournament-bound Wildcats last season and their seven career victories at the Pavilion are the most of any opponent.
But this one was never close.
"Not a thing positive from today," Cooley said. "Did you see something positive out there? If you see something positive, then you're a magician."
Pinkston's dunk and Hilliard's 3-pointer keyed the 9-0 run that forced Providence into a timeout less than 3 minutes into the game. Hart's second 3 of the half made it 22-6 and Arcidiacono, whose late 3 led Villanova to an early season upset over then-No. 2 Kansas, made it 30-12 with his first 3-pointer.
The Friars let teams shoot 35 percent against them this season from 3-point range. They would have gladly accepted that number on the road.
"It was an awful game," Cooley said.
Continuing the pattern, Ennis buried two straight late 3s, sending the Wildcats into halftime with a 50-26 lead.
The second half was a mere formality.
Ennis connected on a 3-pointer, the fifth straight made basket for the Wildcats, for a 66-32 lead. They led by as many as 34 points.
Ennis and Arcidiacono gave the Wildcats a scare midway through the half when they slammed into each other chasing a loose ball. They knocked heads and both went straight to the bench. But they shared a laugh on the bench moments later, and seemed fine.
They were as tough as Villanova's defense. Yes, the gaudy offensive numbers stand out, but the Wildcats forced 17 turnovers and held the dejected and depleted Friars to 35 percent shooting.
"It's all about defense and rebounding," Hilliard said. "That's what we come into games thinking about. When shots are falling, that's when it's kind of easier for us. But we just pride ourselves on getting stops."
Villanova's bench outscored Providence's 20-0 in the first half. The Wildcats made seven 3s in the first half while the Friars scored just seven baskets.
"When you shoot a lot of 3s like that, you're going to have some nights where you look really good," Wright said. "You're going to have some nights where you look really bad. On those nights when you look really bad, you've got to find other ways. But when you shoot it like that, everything's going to look good."
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