VILLANOVA, PA., JAN. 19 -- The circumstances before sixth-ranked Arizona's 72-64 victory over Villanova today made the win particularly pleasing.

"We had a highly emotional game on Thursday night {a 74-71 win over Arizona State} and then had trouble getting to Philadelphia," Coach Lute Olson said. "We didn't arrive until 5 p.m. Friday night. Then we have a very tough, physical game with Villanova. I'm really pleased with the way we responded."

Chris Mills, who led all scorers with 26 points, didn't mind the physical aspect at all.

"It was a lot of fun," the 6-foot-6 sophomore said. "There was a lot of pushing and shoving, but I don't mind that. I think sometimes, though, the home team gets a little edge there. Villanova doesn't have a lot of height, but they're a real good team."

Arizona's starting front line is imposing: 6-11 Brian Williams, 6-10 Sean Rooks and Mills. In reserve the team has 7-foot Ed Stokes and 6-8 Wayne Womack.

Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino thought his team played well despite its considerable height disadvantage, equaling Arizona's 40 rebounds.

"We battled our heads off under the boards," he said. "But they're a very big team."

Villanova (9-7) led most of the first half and held a 36-32 advantage on a jump shot by Greg Woodard with 16:42 to play.

Arizona (15-2) then went on a 14-3 scoring run.

Four straight points by freshman center Anthony Pelle brought Villanova to within 50-49, but Arizona moved out again, taking a 57-52 lead on a jumper by Matt Muehlebach with five minutes left.

Mills's basket put Arizona ahead 66-60, but two free throws by Marc Dowdell pulled Villanova to 66-62 with 1:12 to go. Muehlebach then hit a free throw and added a driving layup to put the game out of reach.

Villanova, which has beaten No. 19 Georgetown, No. 20 LSU and No. 8 Syracuse this season, fell to 1-5 at home.