Although Villanova had its season-opening undefeated run stopped at 10 games last weekend, the third-ranked Wildcats can stay unbeaten on the road when they take on No. 8 Texas on Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Wildcats (11-1) fell 91-87 at home Sunday to then-No. 24 West Virginia despite leading by double digits early in the second half.
Villanova rebounded Wednesday to beat Rutgers 84-78 in overtime, improving its record away from the Pavilion to 7-0. Sophomore point guard Kyle Lowry scored a career-high 28 points and converted a key three-point play in the extra period to lift the Wildcats.
Randy Foye scored 24 points and Allan Ray added 17 for Villanova.
“Coach (Jay) Wright says there are always extra opportunities when other players aren’t hitting their shots,” said Lowry, one of four guards who starts for the Wildcats. “If you’re patient, it’ll come.”
Villanova hasn’t lost a regular-season road game since last Feb. 2, when it fell 81-76 to Connecticut.
Villanova may be facing Texas (13-2) at the wrong time. The Longhorns suffered back-to-back blowouts in mid-December to Duke (97-66) and Tennessee (95-78) that sent them plummeting from the No. 2 spot in the AP poll. Texas, though, has righted itself with five straight convincing wins.
The Longhorns, coming off a 78-58 road victory over Iowa State on Monday, have won by an average of 32.8 points during the streak.
Texas’ biggest victory during the run was a 69-58 road win then-No. 4 Memphis on Jan. 2.
“The losses helped us,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “I know they’re painful lessons to learn, but that’s why you play the schedule you play. It gets you ready.”
Junior forward P.J. Tucker leads the Longhorns with 18.4 points per game, and has averaged 21.6 over the last five games. Tucker has three double-doubles during the win streak.
Sophomore center LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 17.1 points and team highs of 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks on the season.
Against Iowa State, guards Daniel Gibson and Kenton Paulino combined for 39 points to power the Longhorns.
“We want to create our identity right now,” Paulino said. “We’re a defensive team.”
Texas has held 11 of 15 opponents below 40 percent shooting from the field.
Though Texas and Villanova have never met, Barnes is 7-6 against Villanova, having faced the Wildcats when he coached Providence. Texas is 19-23 against Big East teams.