Villanova rolls past another overmatched foeNov 26, 2008 - 5:40 AM VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Dante Cunningham scored 19 points and Corey Stokes added 18 to lead No. 22 Villanova to a 71-48 victory over Monmouth in a Philly Hoop Group Classic matchup on Tuesday.
Villanova (4-0) shot 52 percent (17-of-33) in the first half and opened up a 45-13 lead. Cunningham and Stokes led the charge with 15 points each before the break.
Shane Clark scored 10 points for the Wildcats, who will face a stiff test on December 9, when they host seventh-ranked Texas in a major non-conference tilt. The two weeks leading up to that showdown are expected to be used primarily for tuning up, as Villanova's next four opponents are a combined 4-12 so far.
"Like Coach said, we have to keep getting better every time we step on the court," said Cunningham. "Right now, we are working through a lot of things. We're still moving around a lot of things - trying different things, using people at different spots. We just have to pull it together as a team and keep getting better.
"Putting a 40-minute game together is the biggest thing we need to do. We need to play all 40 minutes harder than our opponent."
Yaniv Simpson scored 11 points for Monmouth (0-5).
Junior center Casiem Drummond and swingman Dwayne Anderson missed the game for Villanova, but they were hardly needed. Drummond was suspended for one game for disciplinary reasons, while Anderson is out with a foot injury.
"It was nothing major at all," Villanova coach Jay Wright said of Drummond's situation following the game. "It was just a little disciplinary thing within our program. It's a privilege to be a part of the team at game time so, if you make a mistake, that's what we do, we take the privilege away. That's all it is. He'll be back at practice tomorrow."
The Wildcats put this one away in the first half, holding the Hawks without a field goal for a span of 11:10. Stokes made four 3-pointers and Scottie Reynolds scored all nine of his points in the first half for Villanova.
"I thought we played a great first half," Wright said. "We were really paying attention to detail and I really liked what we did.
"That first half was our best half of the year. I was really pleased with the defense in that half because that kind of style (Monmouth) plays is a great workout. They are going to hold the ball for 30 seconds. You've got to stay in your stance. We did a good job of that. It doesn't matter who you are playing - if you have to play defense for 30 seconds each possession, it's a challenge."
A 5-0 run to start the second half gave the Wildcats a 50-13 lead and they coasted from there.
Villanova has now won all six of its meetings with Monmouth, which is 0-33 against Big East Conference opponents.
The championship round games of the Philly Hoop Group Classic will be played Friday and Saturday at the Palestra.
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