VILLANOVA, Pa. — Ryan Arcidiacono clapped as he hustled back on defense after hitting another 3-pointer that pushed the Big East opener toward a rout and got another packed Villanova crowd on its feet.
The Wildcats were rolling and a message was sent to undefeated Xavier:
Rankings and records aside, the road to a conference title again goes through Villanova.
Arcidiacono had 27 points including seven 3-pointers and showed No. 16 Villanova might be the team to beat in the Big East, thumping No. 6 Xavier 95-64 Thursday.
The two-time defending regular-season Big East champion and 2015 league tournament winner raced to a 20-point lead in the first half in ending the undefeated run of the Musketeers (12-1, 0-1).
"I think it's too early to say who's the team to beat in the Big East," Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. "This league is really good, man. Really good."
Josh Hart scored the first 13 of the second half for the Wildcats (11-2, 1-0) and had 15 points total.
James Farr led Xavier with 15 points. The Musketeers had a scare when freshman guard Edmond Sumner was taken off the court on a stretcher after a hard fall just minutes into the game. Coach Chris Mack said Sumner was "walking and talking" at a hospital.
Arcidiacono, a 37 percent 3-point shooter, hit four in the first 8 minutes for a 23-8 lead. When he finally missed, Jalen Brunson swooped in for the offensive rebound and sank two free throws that stretched the lead to 19 points.
The Wildcats made 15 of their first 19 overall from the floor.
Sumner was driving to the basket when he collided in midair with Kris Jenkins and crashed to the court. Jenkins, 6 feet 6, 240 pounds, appeared to land on Sumner's head and plow it into the court.
"Long term, he's going to be fine," Mack said. "He was walking and talking. Has a horrendous headache."
"That's the scariest thing that I've ever been a part of," Mack said.
No. 12 Providence 81, No. 9 Butler 73: Rodney Bullock scored a career-high 25 and Kris Dunn came close to a triple double for the visiting Friars in the Big East opener for both teams. "We just, collectively, all got it together," Dunn said of Providence erasing an 11-point halftime deficit. Dunn had 20 points, seven rebounds and nine assists to help the Friars (13-1) win their seventh straight. Kelan Martin led Butler (11-2) with 20 points, and Roosevelt Jones had 19. The Bulldogs had won eight in a row.
Jacksonville 74, B-CU 70: Kori Babineaux scored 20 and Marcel White added 19 points and 10 rebounds as the host Dolphins (7-8) held on. Jordan Potts scored 19 straight points for Bethune-Cookman (4-10), including four consecutive 3-pointers, to pull the Wildcats within four with nine seconds left.
Fla. Gulf Coast 86, La Salle 77: Julian DeBose scored a season-high 20 and Antravious Simmons had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the host Eagles (7-7).
Gonzaga: Center Przemek Karnowski is out for the season after having back surgery Thursday, coach Mark Few said.
No. 6 Maryland 79, Ill. 63: Kristen Confroy scored 17 and Brionna Jones had 16 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for the visiting Terrapins (12-1) in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
No. 9 Ohio St. 85, No. 24 Mich. St. 80: Asia Doss scored the go-ahead basket for the host Buckeyes (9-3) on a putback with 36 seconds left in the Big Ten opener for both. Aerial Powers led the Spartans (9-3) with 23 points.
No. 12 Duke 78, UNC Wilmington 56: Rebecca Greenwell hit five 3-pointers and scored 23 for the host Blue Devils (11-3).
Penn St. 79, No. 14 N'western 72: Freshman Teniya Page scored 27 and Connecticut transfer Brianna Banks added 25 as the host Nittany Lions beat the Wildcats (11-2) for the 10th straight time in the Big Ten opener for both.