Villanova slips by Delaware 84-80
James Bell added 16 points and Darrun Hilliard contributed 15 for Villanova (4-0), which had averaged a 27-point margin of victory in its first three contests.
Delaware (2-3) opened the second half by tallying 14 of the first 21 points to take a 54-50 lead with 13:23 remaining when Jarvis Threatt nailed a jumper. But the Wildcats responded with eight straight points over the next 1:13 to reclaim the advantage, 58-54. Ryan Arcidiacono keyed the spurt with five straight points, on a 3-pointer and a 10-foot bank shot.
Delaware evened the score at 60-60 on Threatt's three-point play with 10:52 left, but the Wildcats slowly pulled away behind Pinkston and Hilliard. The duo combined to score 12 points over the next 6 minutes, capped by Hilliard's layup that gave Villanova its biggest lead, 74-65, with 5:45 left.
The Hens wouldn't go away, tallying 11 of the next 13 points over 2:42 to knot the score at 76. Villanova retook the lead on Pinkston's three-point play that made it 79-76, and went up 81-76 on Arcidiacono's free throws.
Davon Usher scored a game-high 27 points to lead Delaware.
Kyle Anderson (17), Threatt (16) and Carl Baptiste (13) all reached double figures for Delaware.
The Blue Hens, who were picked to place fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll, entered tops among CAA teams and 48th in the country in scoring at 85.2 points per game.
The teams combined for 83 points in a fast-paced first half that featured 32 made field goals and just nine turnovers.
Pinkston and Bell had 12 points apiece at the break to help the Wildcats to a 43-40 halftime advantage. Usher led all scorers with 16 points at the half and Baptiste had 13.
Delaware played without leading scorer Devon Saddler, who averaged 23 points in the Blue Hens' first two games but was suspended for one month on Nov. 12 for a violation of university and team policies.
The Wildcats improved to 12-0 all-time versus Delaware.
Villanova next will travel to the Bahamas for a first-round Thanksgiving day matchup against USC at 1 p.m. in the Battle 4 Atlantis.