VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP)—Ryan Arcidiacono scored 17 points as Villanova overcame struggles from the field in a 70-60 victory over New Jersey Institute of Technology on Friday night.
It was the final nonconference game for Villanova (9-4), which opens Big East play next Wednesday by hosting St. John’s.
Darrun Hilliard had 12 points and JayVaughn Pinkston and Maurice Sutton had 10 apiece for the Wildcats, who won their fifth straight.
Villanova shot just 30.8 percent (20 of 65) from the field, including 5 of 27 3-point attempts.
Ryan Woods had 13 points for NJIT (6-6).
The Highlanders, who began Division I play in 2006-07, were playing their fourth Big East team this season. NJIT lost its three previous games to St. John’s, Providence and Seton Hall by a combined 18 points.
NJIT led the Friars 63-62 with 4:17 left and held a 14-point lead over St. John’s in the first half.
The Wildcats made 25 of 33 free-throw attempts, while NJIT was 8 for 15 from the line.
Villanova struggled to a five-point halftime lead before appearing to gain control with a 10-5 run to start the second half, giving it a 42-32 lead with 16:06 remaining.
But NJIT didn’t wilt, outscoring the Wildcats 19-9 over the next 10:12 to knot the score at 51 with 7:54 left.
Then, Pinkston scored six of the next eight Villanova points to help the Wildcats reclaim the lead, 59-54, with 4:49 to play. The Wildcats stretched the margin to seven points when Hilliard converted a fast-break layup after a steal by Tony Chennault to put Villanova up 65-58 with 1:37 left.
NJIT couldn’t get closer than five points the rest of the way.