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No. 5 Villanova pulls away to beat Penn

Jan 18, 2015 - 4:55 AM Philadelphia, PA ( - Villanova went unbeaten again in Big 5 play after overcoming its toughest obstacle in the series.

It did not come from city rivals Temple, La Salle or Saint Joseph's.

It came from the Ivy League.

Daniel Ochefu had 21 points and 10 rebounds and the No. 5 Wildcats pulled away down the stretch to beat pesky Penn 62-47 on Saturday night at the Palestra.

Dylan Ennis added 10 points and was the only other scorer in double figures for the Wildcats (17-1), who have won four in a row.

Antonio Woods scored 18 points to lead the Quakers (4-9), who have dropped four of their last five.

Villanova's narrowest margin of victory over a Big 5 team was 14 over La Salle on Dec. 3, but this game was closer for longer.

Taking a break from Big East play, where they have gone 4-1, the Wildcats only had a one-point lead against Penn with under 10 minutes to play before pulling away.

They have won 10 games in a row against the other Big 5 teams since losing to Temple on Dec. 5, 2012.

Woods cut Penn's deficit to one with a 3-pointer inside the 10-minute mark in the second half. But Villanova scored the next seven, punctuated by Ochefu's dunk, and the Quakers were never closer than five the rest of the way.

"We just scrapped for a road win," Villanova coach Jay Wright said, according to the team's official website. "That was a really difficult environment against a really hungry team with a great game plan. We were able to just gut it out.

"It wasn't pretty and there really wasn't anything real positive that we did except for being mentally strong to keep playing every possession. Finally, we kind of broke through at the end."

The Wildcats warmed up in the second half after shooting just 30 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes for a 23-21 lead at the break. They shot 56 percent the rest of the way.

They finished their non-conference schedule unbeaten for the first time in program history, going 13-0.

Penn has lost 11 consecutive Big 5 games since a win over Saint Joseph's on Jan. 21, 2012.

The Quakers fell to 1-23 all-time against top-five teams in the Associated Press poll. Their only win came Dec. 28, 1971, when the 14th-ranked Quakers knocked off No. 5 USC 88-87 at the Kodak Classic in Rochester, New York.

Game Notes

Villanova leads the all-time series 44-18 and has won 12 in a row since Penn won back-to-back meetings in 2001 and 2002 ... It was the highest-ranked opponent Penn faced since a Nov. 27, 2010, loss to No. 5 Pittsburgh ... Villanova resumes conference play against Georgetown on Monday in Washington ... Penn hosts Monmouth on Wednesday.