Villanova wants to take care of business on campus before heading out on its most challenging road trip of the season.
The second-ranked Wildcats look to stretch their winning streak at The Pavilion to 36 games when they meet Seton Hall on Tuesday night.
Villanova (19-1, 8-0 Big East) has won 10 straight for its longest run since winning 11 in a row Jan. 17-Feb. 23, 2006. The Wildcats, averaging a conference-best 85.2 points, are off to the best start in school history and are 8-0 in the Big East for the first time.
“We really are excited that we can get better,” coach Jay Wright said.
Both of those marks could be challenged this weekend when Villanova starts a difficult two-game trip. The Wildcats face No. 7 Georgetown on Saturday and play at sixth-ranked West Virginia on Monday.
Before worrying about those games, Villanova will try to defeat Seton Hall (12-7, 3-5) for the eighth straight time. The last two meetings were decided by a combined six points, with the Wildcats winning 89-85 in overtime last Jan. 6 as Scottie Reynolds matched a career high with 40 points.
The Wildcats have not lost at their campus arena since a 73-65 defeat to DePaul on Jan. 6, 2007. Seton Hall has dropped nine straight at The Pavilion.
Villanova had the weekend off after a 90-72 win over Notre Dame on Wednesday. Reynolds and Corey Fisher each scored 17 points to lead the Wildcats.
“As we’re just attacking and rebounding and doing all the little things to win the game, you could just see, certain times on the loose ball, we get the dive. We get the rebound,” Fisher said.
Reynolds scored nine points in a closing 11-0 run, and needs seven to become the eighth player in school history with 2,000.
Antonio Pena provided Villanova with an inside presence, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds to give him five double-doubles this season.
“That’s probably the best thing, not scoring all the points, but knowing that I did all the little things for my team to get the win,” he said.
Seton Hall is 0-14 in Big East road games against Top 25 opponents under coach Bobby Gonzalez. The Pirates fell to 0-3 on the road in conference play this season with a 76-74 overtime loss to South Florida on Thursday.
Jeremy Hazell, second in the Big East with 22.5 points per game, scored 28 to lead Seton Hall. Hazell was 9 of 20 from the field, but the rest of the Pirates shot 40.4 percent.
“We didn’t make shots,” Gonzalez said. “Jeremy Hazell didn’t have a lot of help tonight, other people didn’t step up and make shots and that’s tough for me.”
Seton Hall forward Herb Pope grabbed 17 rebounds and leads the conference with 11.3 per game. Pope, though, was held to five points on 2-of-10 shooting.
“It was everything we expected,” Gonzalez said. “Winning on the road in this conference is tough, I don’t care who you play.”
Hazell scored 26 points against the Wildcats last season, hitting a long 3-pointer with 10 seconds left that forced overtime.