Villanova Outlasts the Seton Hall Pirates 73 – 67 in Another Close Contest Between Theses Programs
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/12/2022 –
A great rivalry, two schools that play to a tight battle every time they take the floor. This game goes to the #15 Villanova Wildcats 73 – 67 in front of 17,803 at the Wells Fargo Center. An issue that really was not decided until a huge Villanova possession with less than a minute left that led to free throws, then forcing a Seton Hall turnover that tilted the game to the hosts.
“They came in here and just executed and played great,” Villanova Coach Jay Wright said about Seton Hall. “And we’re not surprised. They’re down (Bryce) Aiken. Collin (Gillespie) and Justin (Moore) obviously aren’t 100 percent, and they just purely gutted it out those two. And it was just a great team effort for us, and I’m really proud of that effort.”
Seton Hall had a 7-point lead at one point. The largest Villanova lead was 6 points which came at the end of the game. It was close throughout. The Hall had an 11-point run. Nova had a 9-point run. Neither could create separation. Pirates forward Tray Jackson sank back to back three-pointers to give the Hall a 63 – 62 lead with 3:16 to play.
The see-saw of a one or two point lead held until two minutes left. Jackson tied the game at 67. On the next possession Villanova forward Brandon Slater got the ball from Gillespie underneath, turned, and converted a layup with 1:26 on the clock giving Nova the lead for the rest of the game.
Following a Seton Hall miss Villanova had the ball with a minute to play. Here is where the game was decided. Caleb Daniels missed a three. Collin Gillespie got the offensive rebound. Justin Moore had a second chance jump shot that was off the mark. The contested rebound wound up going out of bounds, Nova had possession at the 18 second mark. Moore was fouled and made two free throws for a 71 – 67 Nova advantage. The Pirates turned the ball over. Moore made two more free throws with 9.8 seconds left.
“We were trying to get to the offensive glass earlier, attacking at the rock kind of thing. We finally broke through at the end, and they were big ones,” Wright said. “Like the one Collin came up with. They were huge possessions because they would have had the ball in a one possession game coming down. We came up with the ball.”
Villanova had five players reach double-figures lad by Jermaine Samuels and Justin Moore with 16 points each, 14 in the second half. Samuels made 7 of 11 from the field and added 3 assists.
“I think it comes down to both teams being relentless in their physical approach,” Samuels said about why these games are so competitive. “That competitiveness is there. Both sides want it just as bad as the next guy. You can tell from tip off what type of game it’s going to be. And usually they’re always close.”
Eric Dixon, Collin Gillespie, and Brandon Slater contributed 10 points each. Moore was a perfect 8 of 8 at the line and pulled own a team-high 7 rebounds.
Kadary Richmond and Jackson both scored 16 points for the Pirates. Myles Cale added 11 points. Alexis Yetna pulled down a game-high 15 caroms. The Hall played without Bryce Aiken out due to injury.
Seton Hall (15 – 8, 6 – 7) play at Connecticut on Wednesday. Villanova has a trip to Providence the day before.
The 125th meeting was like many of the others in recent history. Why so close?
“I think we are similar programs,” Wright said. “We’ve been around and take pride in our culture. We know each other so well and played so many times.”
“It’s definitely a battle every time we play each other,” said Seton Hall Coach Kevin Willard. “It seems like no matter who the players are. It’s always a close game. I guess Jay and I have been in this league a long time. I kind of know what Jay is going to do. Jay knows what I am going to do. We know each other so well. We go into the game knowing what we have to do.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian