VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) Kris Jenkins scored 16 points and Jalen Brunson added 13 to lead No. 1 Villanova to a 76-46 win over Seton Hall on Monday night.
The Wildcats (18-1, 6-1 Big East) looked every bit like a team that could win back-to-back national championships in their first game at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll following a one-week hiatus.
Villanova fell from the top spot to third in the poll following a Jan. 4 loss at Butler. But wins over Marquette and Xavier vaulted the Wildcats over Kansas and back into the top spot.
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Led by four 3s from Jenkins, the Wildcats set a school record with their 47th straight win at the Pavilion.
Desi Rodriguez scored 15 points for Seton Hall (12-6, 2-4), which shot 29 percent from the field and committed 16 turnovers.
No. 7 CREIGHTON 72, No. 22 XAVIER 67
CINCINNATI (AP) – Cole Huff got a pivotal rebound and made a pair of free throws with 16.7 seconds left, and Creighton wasted an 11-point lead before rallying for a road win that gave the Bluejays the best start in their history.
Creighton (18-1, 5-1 Big East) scored the final six points after Xavier (13-5, 3-3) pulled ahead 67-66. The Bluejays have won five straight since an 80-70 home loss to No. 1 Villanova on Dec. 31.
Creighton suffered a significant setback when point guard Maurice Watson Jr. – the national leader with 8.8 assists per game – hurt his left knee when he hit the court hard after scoring on a layup in the first half. He was on crutches for the second half.
Coach Greg McDermott said a doctor who examined Watson at halftime thought there was no ligament damage. Watson will get an MRI when the team goes home.
RaShid Gaston had a career-high 17 rebounds for Xavier, and Trevon Bluiett scored 17 points.
No. 9 NORTH CAROLINA 85, SYRACUSE 68
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams earned his 800th career victory when Isaiah Hicks scored 20 points to lead North Carolina to the home win.
Kennedy Meeks added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Tar Heels (17-3, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 52 percent and dominated the boards. UNC never trailed after the game’s opening possession, led 42-30 at halftime and then stayed a step ahead of the hot-shooting Orange after the break.
Syracuse (11-8, 3-3) got as close as three early in the second half, but never pushed ahead. The Tar Heels ultimately ran off a 7-0 flurry in the final 5 minutes to stretch the lead back out to 15.
Tyler Lydon scored 26 points for the Orange.
NO. 13 BUTLER 88, MARQUETTE 80
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Kelan Martin scored 22 points and Butler rallied from an 18-point deficit early in the second half.
The Bulldogs (16-3, 5-2 Big East) put up 63 points after the break without a single turnover.
Markus Howard had 26 points for Marquette (12-6, 3-3).