VILLANOVA, Pa. — The venue was different but the result the same.
In the first Big 5 game ever played at Jake Nevin Field House, No. 4 Villanova cruised to a 90-62 victory over visiting Penn (5-4) on Wednesday.
With the win, the Wildcats (7-0) upped their record Big 5 winning streak to 19 games heading into another city matchup at Saint Joseph’s on Saturday.
• It was a unique atmosphere at Jake Nevin Field House, which hadn’t hosted a Villanova men’s game since 1986, a month before the Pavilion opened next door. But with the 2,200-seat gym best known as the “Cat House” filled with just about all Villanova students, it got loud. Very loud (see story).
• The biggest cheers in the building, which opened in 1931, came early when Omari Spellman had a steal and coasted in for a thunderous one-handed dunk, moments after burying a three-pointer. The Villanova redshirt freshman was up for the game, scoring 10 points before the first media timeout.
• The rims may not be what they’re used to but the Wildcats could barely miss, shooting 50 percent from three-point range and 56.9 percent from the field. One of those threes came from freshman Jermaine Samuels — just his second of the season.
• ’Nova captain Jalen Brunson took over in the second half, as he’s prone to do. He finished with a game-high 17 points and missed only one shot. And showing his leadership, he charged way off the bench to cheer a teammate drawing a charge in the final two minutes.
• Phil Booth, Mikal Bridges and Spellman also had big games with all three finishing with 14 points. Donte DiVincenzo joined them in double figures with 12.
• The visiting Quakers actually seemed up for the unique matchup, too, with standout sophomores AJ Brodeur (15 points) and Ryan Betley (11 points) putting Penn up 11-9 early. But it looked like some nerves caught up with them with a couple of players shooting airballs and getting rattled.
• As Brodeur and Betley go, so go the Quakers. Brodeur was productive inside but Betley, a native of nearby Downingtown, had an off night shooting until getting hotter late when the game was already out of reach.
• Eric Paschall also had a huge first-half dunk for Villanova — while getting fouled. And Bridges added a couple of his own in the second half, the second of which gave the Wildcats a commanding 74-47 edge with 8:38 remaining.
• Penn took a lot of threes as it usually does but connected on just one of its 10 first-half attempts. For the game, the Quakers shot 6 for 20 from behind the arc.
• Darnell Foreman scored 13 points for Penn and Jackson Donahue, who’s been in and out of the rotation, had a good night off the bench, hitting a couple of threes in the second half and making a couple of nice passes on backdoor cuts. He also endured some taunts from a few Villanova students who liked to call out “Jackson.”
• Villanova, which held a comfortable 46-28 halftime lead, has beaten Penn in each of the last 15 seasons.
• Legendary Villanova coach Rollie Massimino, who died in August, was honored at halftime with his retired jersey presented to family. About 40 of his former players were in attendance at the old field house he used to call home.
• The best spotted T-shirt in the crowd: “All Wright All Wright All Wright.”
• After playing Saint Joseph’s, Villanova meets Gonzaga at Madison Square Garden before closing out its Big 5 slate vs. La Salle on Dec. 10 and Temple on Dec. 13. The Wildcats are aiming for their fifth straight perfect Big 5 record.
• The Quakers, who lost an overtime heartbreaker to La Salle earlier in the season, face Temple and St. Joe’s in consecutive weeks in January.