No. 4 Villanova opens title defense with romp over Lafayette

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VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) Jalen Brunson scored 17 points, Kris Jenkins had 16 and No. 4 Villanova opened defense of its national championship with an 88-48 victory over Lafayette on Friday night.

Jenkins opened his season the same way he ended the last one – with a 3-pointer. Jenkins hit a buzzer-beating 3 in the title game to lift the Wildcats to a 77-74 win over North Carolina. With a national championship banner hanging in the rafters, Jenkins scored Villanova’s first basket of the season on a 3-pointer.

Jenkins scored 13 points in the first half and the Wildcats stormed to a 49-17 lead.

Coach Jay Wright had said he wanted the Wildcats to put the White House visit, a parade, numerous awards shows and banquets, and other honors behind them as they opened the season. Villanova looked every bit like a team that could become the first repeat national champ since Florida in 2006 and 2007.

Josh Hart, a preseason All-America, scored 13 points for the Wildcats.

Nick Lindner led the Leopards with 10 points.

BIG PICTURE

Lafayette: The Leopards continue to play Villanova, even with just one win in 10 career matchups. The Leopards missed 12 of 13 3-point attempts in the first half and scored only two points on their first 20 possessions. The Leopards, out of the Patriot League, won’t play another team in the regular season close to a program such as Villanova. Lafayette does return to Philadelphia on Dec. 22 to play at Saint Joseph’s.

Villanova: The Wildcats could use an easy one before they play at No. 15 Purdue on Monday. The Wildcats won their 40th straight game at the Pavilion and sold out the gym for the 170th straight time. Villanova is a whopping 98-13 there since the start of the 2013-14 season.

UP NEXT

Lafayette plays Monday night at Saint Peter’s.

Villanova tries for a 3-0 career mark against the Boilermakers on Monday. Villanova won games in 1995 and 2012.