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No. 4 'Nova dispatches DePaul; No. 1 UConn looms

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Now, Villanova can worry about
Connecticut.

Randy Foye scored 23 points and Kyle Lowry added 15 to lead the
fourth-ranked Wildcats to their eighth straight victory, 61-51 over
DePaul on Saturday.

Next up: No. 1 UConn on Monday.

"Earlier in the week, on Thursday, they were asking us about
UConn, and [coach Jay Wright] told us you have to worry about
DePaul first, we have to go in there and play a great team in
DePaul and then worry about UConn after that," Foye said.

Although Saturday's game wasn't a letdown for Villanova, it
wasn't a thing of beauty, either.

The Wildcats were 21-of-59 from the field, including 5-of-21 on
3-pointers, and had just six assists. But they were 14-of-19 from
the free throw line, had five steals and scored 11 points off
DePaul's 13 turnovers.

Foye was 8-of-20 from the field, including 4-of-12 on
3-pointers, but he hit several clutch shots in the second half. He
had a layup and jumper during a six-point run late that increased
the lead to 52-40.

The Wildcats (19-2, 9-1 Big East) were without third-leading
scorer Mike Nardi, who missed his second straight game with
tonsillitis. Wright said he considered inserting Nardi in the
second half, before the Wildcats pulled away.

Lowry was 5-for-11 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. He
had 25 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals in
Tuesday's 71-58 victory over Saint Joseph's.

"You've got to deal with it," Lowry said. "Every night you
are not going to be shooting 55 percent and hitting 12 3s. Some
nights are just going to come down to defense."

And Villanova's was good enough -- again.

"That's really what we've done all year," Wright said. "We
just continue to find ways. I don't think we are ever going to be
pretty. ... This is who we are."

Karron Clarke had 14 points and 15 rebounds for DePaul (9-13,
2-9), which has lost eight of nine overall and five in a row at
home. The Blue Demons were 10-for-23 at the free throw line.

"That's probably how dentistry was in the 1800s, before they
had anesthetics," coach Jerry Wainwright said. "That's how I
felt."

So did his players.

"Free throws are haunting us lately," guard Sammy Mejia said
after going 2-of-5 at the line.

Wainwright acknowledged that the backdrop at Allstate Arena is
different from that of their gym on campus. But he also pointed out
that he sees players with hitches in their stroke at the line.

"I don't know what else you can say; you need to make them,"
Wainwright said.

DePaul outscored Villanova 17-8 over the opening 9:31 of the
second half to pull within 40-37.

With the score 46-40, Villanova's Bilal Benn put back an airball
by Allan Ray, and Foye followed with a layup and jumper that made
it a 12-point game with 3:37 left.

The game was the first between Villanova and new Big East member
DePaul since February 1979. DePaul has not beaten a Top Ten team
since December 2001, when it defeated No. 10 Missouri at the United
Center in Chicago. Its last victory over a Top 5 opponent was by
one point in overtime over No. 3 Cincinnati at Allstate Arena eight
years ago.

A jumper by Wilson Chandler and a basket by Marlon Brumfield
pulled DePaul within 32-24 early in the second half, but Foye hit a
3 from the left wing.

Another 3 by Foye made it 40-26, but Jabari Currie and Clarke
hit from the outside to pull DePaul within 40-32. After a missed
jumper by Ray, Chandler brought the crowd to its feet with a dunk
that made it a six-point game. Mejia's 3-pointer then pulled DePaul
within 40-37 with 9:29 remaining.

"When we cut it to three, that was one of the few moments in
the game where we were actually being aggressive on the offensive
end," Mejia said.

The Wildcats built a 32-20 halftime lead despite missing six of
their first seven shots and hitting just 12 of 31 overall.

Villanova turns its attention toward Monday's showdown with
UConn.

"It's definitely important, and you know it's going to be a big
game, but you still have to go back and review the film on DePaul
and see the mistakes that we made and correct them in practice
tomorrow," Lowry said.