PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/8/2020 – The expected battle of the Big East titans lived up to its billing. The #12 Seton Hall Pirates came out with a 70 – 64 win over the #10 Villanova Wildcats at the Wells Fargo Center. It was a matter of the Hall being a little too strong and experienced that tilted the game in their direction of the leaders in the Big East.
“Seton Hall played better than us,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “We didn’t play poorly, they just played better. They are playing better basketball as a team. We have to play better to beat one of the best teams in the country. We’ll get better.”
Seton Hall got out to an early lead. Midway through the first half the Pirates got out to a 20 – 10 lead. The Wildcats fought back and took a 27 – 25 lead on a field goal by Saddiq Bey, who scored a game-high 22 points. The visitors from North Jersey got back in front by 31- 27 at halftime.
The second half was extremely close. The teams were within a possession of each other for most of the first ten minutes of the half. Villanova trailed 46 – 45 following a three-pointer by Bey after the Pirates leading scorer Myles Powell went to the bench with his fourth personal foul. Powell scored a team-high 19 points. Seton Hall responded with an 11 – 6 run to take a six-point lead which was the largest lead in the second half until the last minute when the Pirates converted 9 of 10 from the free throw line in the last minute of play.
This was the first win for Seton Hall as the road team against Villanova since 1994.
The Pirates had a large lead in rebounding getting 43 compared to 32 for the Wildcats. Again, size and strength was a factor.
“We have young players that get beat up a little bit,” said Wright. “They’re used to being bigger and stronger, but they’re not. You have to have better technique and a little more toughness. Seton Hall got experienced guys, they get that.”
Two other Nova players scored in double figures with Collin Gillespie scoring 12 despite no making a three-pointer in the game for the first time this season.s Jermaine Samuels added 10 points, all in the first half. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl pulled down a career-high tying 14 rebounds.
Sandro Mamukelashvili scored 17 points for the Hall and added 8 rebounds. Quincy McKnight had 14. Jared Rhoden snared 11 misses.
Villanova has lost their last three games including their last two at the Wells Fargo Center. The last time Nova was on a three-game skid was last February when they dropped decisions to Saint John’s, Georgetown, and Xavier. The next game is a home game against Marquette which now becomes the key contest.
“We focus on getting better the next day, try to get better the next day, and focus on the next game,” said Bey. “If we get better, we’ll be fine.”
“We’ve got to come back with some hurt now and get ready for the next one,” Gillespie said.
“The most important game is the next game.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian