Maalik Wayns scored 28 points and Villanova pulled away to a 70-49 victory over Rutgers on Tuesday night in the opening round of the Big East tournament.

Wayns continued his strong play since missing three games with a sprained MCL in his left knee. He returned for the final two games of the regular season and averaged 22 points and 6.5 assists. He had four assists for the 14th-seeded Wildcats (13-18) on Tuesday as they advanced to face sixth-seeded South Florida in the second round on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

The Wildcats had lost their first game in the last two Big East tournaments.

Freshman Eli Carter had 23 points for the 11th-seeded Scarlet Knights (14-18), who lost 77-71 to Villanova on Feb. 28.

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