PHILADELPHIA -- Taylor King already knows about the Duke-North Carolina rivalry. Now, he found one as intense in Villanova-Saint Joseph's.
King, a transfer from Duke, scored 20 points and hit two key 3-pointers in the closing minutes to lead the No. 3 Wildcats over Saint Joseph's, 97-89 on Wednesday night.
• Villanova is 9-0 for the first time since 2005-06 (started 8-0 last season).
• Scottie Reynolds led Villanova with 22 points. He's averaged 19.7 points , 6.3 rebounds and six assists over his last three games.
• Former Duke transfer Taylor King scored a season-high 20 points off the bench.
• Villanova has won 21 of its last 22 Big 5 games dating back to the 2004-05 season.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
"In some ways, it was like a bout," said Hawks coach Phil Martelli. "They took a swing. We took a swing."Scottie Reynolds had 22 points, and Antonio Pena chipped in with 15 to help the Wildcats win the area's most intense rivalry.Idris Hilliard scored a career-high 22 points, and Darrin Govens added 19 for Saint Joseph's, which had five players with at least 12 points."It was crazy, but I treated it like any other game," King said.Villanova (9-0) converted 30 of 31 second-half free throw attempts, including 29 in a row, to win for the 43rd time in 57 meetings against the Hawks (3-5)."That was big," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We have good shooters. In the second half, every one was big."Saint Joseph's charged within four points with less than 2 minutes to play. But King drilled his fourth 3-pointer with 1:29 left to give the Wildcats breathing room. Corey Fisher also made four straight free throws when the Hawks were forced to foul."He's a marvelous player," Martelli said. "He has a quick release, a pretty shot and incredible passion."The Wildcats trailed 38-37 after Govens turned a Bryant Irwin pass into a reverse lay-up with 2:41 left in the first half. But Reynolds drove for a lay-up on the next possession, and Villanova never trailed again.The 38 points were the most given up by the Wildcats in an opening half this season.After Saint Joseph's pulled within one by hitting the first basket of the second half, Villanova went on a 16-7 run over the next 6 minutes, building a 10-point lead. Their biggest lead of 12 points came after freshman Dominic Cheek scored on a lay-in with 7:44 left."I say it every time," Wright said. "You can never predict these games. You've got to tough it out. They really played hard and I'm proud of our guys. They played great and we gutted it out."