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VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Ryan Arcidiacono clapped as he hustled back on defense after hitting another 3-pointer that pushed the Big East opener toward a rout and got another packed Villanova crowd on its feet.
The Wildcats were rolling and a message was sent to undefeated Xavier:
Rankings and records aside, the road to a conference championship again goes through Villanova.
Arcidiacono made seven 3-pointers, scored 27 points and showed No. 16 Villanova just may be the team to beat in the Big East, thumping No. 6 Xavier 95-64 on Thursday.
The two-time defending regular-season Big East championships and the 2015 tournament champs raced to a 20-point lead in the first half behind a 3-point happy offense and ended the Musketeers' (12-1, 0-1) undefeated season.
"I think it's too early to say who's the team to beat in the Big East," coach Jay Wright said. "This league is really good, man. Really good."
The Wildcats (11-2, 1-0) were simply great in the opener.
Josh Hart scored the first 13 points of the second half for the Wildcats and had 15.
James Farr led Xavier with 15 points. The Musketeers had a scare when freshman guard Edmond Sumner was taken off the court on a stretcher after a hard fall just minutes into the game. Coach Chris Mack said Sumner was "walking and talking" at a hospital.
Villanova's only two losses had come against Top 25 teams, falling to No. 3 Oklahoma and now-No. 5 Virginia. The Sooners routed the Wildcats by 23 points and Virginia pulled away late in an 86-75 win.
The Wildcats made 12 of 44 3s combined in those two games, a key reason they couldn't hang with either team for long.
Against Xavier, the Wildcats connected with ease, making 13 of 25 overall.
Arcidiacono, a 37-percent 3-point shooter, hit four in the first 8 minutes of the game for a 23-8 lead. When Arcidiacono finally missed one, Jalen Brunson swooped in for the offensive rebound and sank two free throws that stretched the lead to 19 points.
The Wildcats made 15 of their first 19 shots overall from the floor.
Brunson didn't start because of a stomach virus, then made Xavier queasy with seven points in 7 minutes. He spent the morning at a hospital and needed intravenous fluids. Arcidiacono, Brunson's roommate, joked he didn't sleep much because Brunson was ill and vomited so much.
Arcidiacono was wide awake on the floor, making 10 of 19 shots and fell just five points shy of matching his career high.
"After I hit a couple, I did take a couple of crazy ones," Arcidiacono said, smiling. "After I think I hit my third or fourth one ... I was just like, if this is my day, this is going to go in for me."
Hart, Villanova's leading scorer with 14.8 points, didn't attempt a shot in the first half.
No worries, he still found his points. He scored a layup off a turnover to open the second half, buried a 3, made a pair from the free-throw line and scored two more baskets for 13 points in just over 4 minutes.
Arcidiacono's sixth 3 made it 72-44 and Villanova again flexed its muscle that it's the true beast of the Big East.
Kris Jenkins scored 13 points and Daniel Ochefu had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Musketeers, who beat two Top 25 teams en route to the best start in school history, missed 7 of 10 3s in the first half and didn't seem to recover emotionally from Sumner's injury.
Sumner was driving to the basket when he collided in midair with Jenkins and crashed to the court. Jenkins, 6-foot-6, 240-pounds, appeared to land on Sumner's head and plow it into the court.
Sumner was motionless on his back for several minutes until he finally raised his knees. Mack, trainers and teammates checked on Sumner, who is averaging 11.7 points and among the more promising freshman in basketball.
"Long term, he's going to be fine," Mack said. "He was walking and talking. Has a horrendous headache."
Xavier: Xavier has not defeated Villanova since it joined the Big East in 2013. (0-6). ... Xavier's 12-game winning streak was the longest since it won 16 straight in 2002-2003 season. ... The Musketeers have never been ranked higher than sixth in the Top 25 poll.
Villanova: The Wildcats have a career 156-247 record against ranked teams. ... Villanova is 6-7 against top 10 teams at the Pavilion. ... Wright is 52-66 against ranked teams at Villanova.
The Wildcats sold out their 168th straight game at the Pavilion and have a 34-game winning streak at their on-campus home.
"This place was rocking," Wright said. "You could tell people were fired up about this game."
Xavier: Hosts Butler on Saturday.
Villanova: Plays at Creighton on Saturday.
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