VILLANOVA. Pa. - It was over quickly. In just under three minutes, Mount St. Mary's was buried by 16 straight Villanova points, and the Mountaineers never recovered.
On any night, the Mountaineers will have to play their absolute best to be competitive with a top team from the Big East. On Wednesday, they were hardly that and were easily outclassed by the Wildcats 90-59 before 6,500 at the Pavilion.
By the time the 16-0 run was over, Villanova (2-0) had a 23-8 lead with 11:24 to play in the first half, and the Mount (0-2) couldn't mount any sort of challenge.
"I don't believe they're 31 points better than us," Sam Prescott said.
Prescott, Julian Norfleet and Rashad Whack combined to shoot 11 for 37 in the Mountaineers' hideous 29.8 percent performance from the field.
"They played really well, and we didn't," coach Jamion Christian said.
In his first season, Christian's team played three major conference opponents in its first nine games - losses at Pittsburgh, Georgetown and Indiana. This year, he's stepped up the competition.
Last Friday, the Mount was a 15-point loser at West Virginia, and after this loss fly to Salt Lake City on Thursday to play Brigham Young on Friday. After that, they'll take a red-eye home for a game at UMBC on Sunday, one that should be a truer test.
"If you're going to beat the best, you have to play the best," Christian said.
After games against UMBC, Maryland-Eastern Shore, American and Bucknell, Christian has another mighty challenge late this month at Michigan State.
Norfleet led MSM with 15 points, Prescott had 13 and Whack added 10. No Mountaineer had more than four rebounds.
The Wildcats shot 62.7 percent, and in the second half outshot the Mount 68 percent to 25. Villanova showed out its speed and size in the first half. In that 16 point run, just a single basket was on a jumper. Everything else came inside with a gaudy reverse dunk by James Bell.
The Mount had consecutive scores early in the first half to take a 5-2 lead, but had to wait until early in the second half for a second five point run. By then, they trailed by 27. Never did they score more than five straight.
"We've got older guys. We should have been able to play better against a team like this," Prescott said. "We just didn't come out with focus. If we come out the way we're supposed to play, it's not a 31-point game."
Four months from now, Villanova will be playing in the Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden, hoping to go to the NCAAs. Mount St. Mary's will hope to win a smaller Northeast Conference tournament and get its chance against a team that probably will be as good or even better than the Wildcats.
"We're about where we were a year ago. That doesn't make you happy," Christian said. "You are what your record says you are. We're 0-2 right now. We're just working to get our first win."
The ebullient 31-year-old, second-year coach couldn't find many things to be happy about.
"No. No. No. Not a whole lot of positives. I'm usually pretty positive," Christian said. "Our team isn't where I thought it would be at this point, but that's where we are. That's the reality of it. Maybe that's a positive in itself that we know the work we need to put in."