Villanova, PA (Sports Network) – Corey Stokes paced Villanova with 17 points and eight rebounds, and the 12th-ranked Wildcats edged Big 5 rival Saint Joseph’s, 71-60, at the Pavilion.
Antonio Pena contributed 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Dominic Cheek and Corey Fisher also scored 14 points apiece for ’Nova (6-1), which was coming off a loss to Tennessee in the NIT Season-Tip Off finale last Friday.
Carl Jones tallied 19 points for Saint Joseph’s (3-4), which has dropped two straight on the heels of a three-game winning streak.
The Hawks shot better from the field than their counterparts (41 percent to 38.5 percent), but made just 2-of-7 free throws compared to the Wildcats’ 14-of-19 effort from the stripe.
Stokes and Fisher carried the load during a 10-2 run that turned an early deficit into a 20-13 Villanova lead with 11 1/2 minutes left in the first half.
The Hawks trailed 38-28 at the break, and Daryus Quarles’ three-pointer two minutes into the second stanza cut the deficit to 41-33.
The Wildcats stepped on the gas from there, scoring the next 13 points — the last two coming from Fisher at the foul line for a 21-point lead with 14 1/2 minutes remaining.
St. Joseph’s fought back, and Jones got a tough runner to fall to get to within 67-56 with 2:17 remaining.
Stokes answered with an 18-footer at the other end, and there wasn’t enough time for the Hawks to stage a comeback.
Villanova leads the all-time series, 44-24, in a rivalry that dates to 1921…Fisher made just 3-of-13 from the field…Mouphtaou Yarou grabbed 12 rebounds for Villanova, which won the battle on the glass, 48-34…Quarles scored 12 points in defeat…Villanova has fellow city rivals Penn and La Salle on tap over the next week-plus, while Saint Joseph’s heads to Princeton for a game with the Tigers on Sunday.