Defense Keys a Gritty Win For Villanova

Villanova Holds Seton Hall to a Season Low in Scoring

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/11/2023 –

A typical hard fought, tough, gritty, Big East game. Not a pretty game. in a low scoring affair Villanova used their defense to spur a 58 – 54 win over the Seton Hall Pirates at the Wells Fargo Center. The Hall experienced their lowest point total of the season. The Wildcats won their second game in a row.

“I was really proud of our guys defensive effort,” said Villanova Coach Kyle Neptune. “I thought we played hard all night. They make it hard for you offensively.”

Defensive Highlights

‘Stops’ are the reason as Seton Hall was held to 39.6% shooting and were successful on 7 of 20 three-pointers. A huge part of the win for the Cats was to defend without fouling. The Pirates went to the free throw line 7 times and converted 5 of them. Meanwhile, the Wildcats were good on 10 of 16. A difference of 5 points in a four-point game.

“Your technique is very important,” said Neptune. “They do an unbelievable job of muscling you inside. I thought our guys did a good job of playing hard without fouling.”

Game of Runs

Nova had the first run. A cold shooting start for each team saw Seton Hall leading 11 – 7 with just under ten minutes remaining in the opening twenty. Villanova took control behind a 17 – 3 run to get a ten-point lead as just over four minutes showed on the clock. All of the Wildcats points were scored by Caleb Daniels and Eric Dixon. In fact those two players netted all but 3 of the Cats halftime total of 27.

Seton Hall crawled back in the game cutting a 13-point deficit to one getting 13 of the next 14 points.

Next run to Nova as they ran off a 15 – 2 spurt to take a 53 – 39 lead at the 3:15 mark. In that stretch the Pirates turned the ball over 5 times.

“We got a coupe of stops, a couple of turnovers and got out in transition,” Neptune explained about the game deciding run. “For us it starts with your defense. If you get stops and get into your offense quickly before they set up, that’s the best way to score.”

From there it was a matter of holding off The Hall to the end. Nova did that.

Caleb Daniels Reaches a Milestone

Early in the second half Daniels nailed a three-pointer and reached the 1,000-point plateau at Villanova. He finished the game with 18 points, and now has 1,005 points in a Villanova uniform.

“We all know he is a scorer and he can get hot and make shots,” Neptune said. “He’s made shots these past couple of games. Defensively is where he gives us a boost. He was big time.”

What the Numbers Say

Eric Dixon scored a game-high 19 points making 8 of 18 from the field. Cam Whitmore added 12 points. Justin Moore was held to one-point, but pulled down a team-best 7 rebounds.

Seton Hall had three plyers score in double-figures. Tyrese Samuel led the team with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Al-Amir Dawes scored 13 points and was the team leader from the charity stripe sinking 3 of 4. Kadary Richmond chipped in 10 points. Seton Hall outrebounded Villanova by a 36 – 30 margin.

Up Next

A quick turnaround for the Cats as Butler comes to town on Valentine’s Day.


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Caleb Daniels – Photo Courtesy of Villanova Media Relations

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