January 30, 2021 –
The Villanova Wildcats stay undefeated in the Big East and won their ninth game in a row beating the Seton Hall Pirates 80 – 72 in Newark, NJ. It was the first road game for the Wildcats since a December 23rd trek to Marquette.
“It’s a really good road win against a very good Seton Hall team,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “They always play us really tough because the match up is tough. We play each other so much, he’s (Seton Hall Coach Kevin Willard) got such a good feel playing against us. It makes everything difficult.”
Credit the Wildcats forwards for stepping up and being a catalyst for the win. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl scored a game-high 23 points despite being saddled with 4 fouls in the second half. It relegated him to the bench, but fellow front court mate Jermaine Samuels got 17 points, 15 in the second half, on 6 of 8 shooting and 5 of 5 from the foul line.
“”Coming into the second half I was worried about making the right plays for my teammates, and just being aggressive,” said Samuels about his second half performance. “My teammates gave me opportunities to make plays and I took advantage of the opportunities.”
Seton Hall made it a point to pressure the guards, but Nova floor general Collin Gillespie got everyone else involved in the offense. Gillespie recorded a collegiate-best 11 assists and was a perfect 7 for 7 from the charity stripe in getting his 11 points.
“They took away our guards and did a great job on Collin Gillespie,” Wright said. “Because they did it made Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Jermaine Samuels stepping up was really important because they have really good forwards. For Jeremiah and Jermaine to be as effective as they were against them was really important in today’s game.”
Nova would ice the game converting 11 of 12 free throws over the last two minutes to close it out.
“We practice our habits on offense and just go in,” Robinson-Earl said about the contribution of the forwards. “We’re prepared for the most difficult situations and it just so happened the forwards got it going a little bit. Then Collin and Justin (Moore) got it going. We just play off each other and make good decisions throughout the game.”
Moore put up double-digits with 16 points behind 4 made three-point shots.
The Pirates (9 – 8, 6 – 5) had four players in double figures scoring led by Shavar Reynolds who had 13 points. Jared Rhoden, Sandro Mamukelashvili, and Myles Cale all contributed 12 points.
As of now Villanova (11 – 1, 6 – 0) continues the New Jersey / New York road trip playing at St. John’s on Wednesday.
Written By: Glenn Papazian