Seton Hall may have entered last night’s contest next to last in the Big East but they represented the kryptonite of this Villanova squad. The Pirates lead the Big East in three pointers made and attempted; unfortunately for the Wildcats, they struggle mightily at defending the three ball, ranking 14th in the Big East at 36% allowed from behind the arc. This disparity on paper played itself out on the court in a big way as Seton Hall converted a season-high 13 of 21 shots from behind the arc on the game. The Pirates were so committed to the three point shot that they did not even make their first two point field goal until there were three minutes remaining in the first half.
Jay Wright’s players excel at an area of the game themselves, having arrived in New Jersey ranked 2nd in the country in both free throws made and attempted. True to form, Villanova attacked the basket early and often, finishing the game 25 of 27 from the foul line. The Wildcats also did a great job forcing Seton Hall turnovers (19 in total) as their three-quarter court trap gave the Pirates trouble all game long.
While Seton Hall was raining triples, Villanova started off the game slowly, taking nine minutes of game time to reach double digits in points. A 10-0 Villanova run then gave the Wildcats the lead and the two teams would eventually go into halftime tied 32-32. The game went back and forth all second half before Mouphtaou Yarou hit a contested jumper with 25 seconds left to give Villanova a four point lead as well as give him 1,000 points for his Villanova career. However, after two Seton Hall free throws, the Wildcats turned it over in the full court trap, allowing the Pirates’ Fuquan Edwin to hit a three with 10 seconds left. It was one trey too many as it gave Seton Hall a one-point lead and the game, 66-65.
For Villanova, Yarou played great against an undersized Seton Hall team, finishing with 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Ryan Arcidiacono and JayVaughn Pinkston led the team with 16 and 15 points, respectively, although the pair did combine for 9 turnovers. Seton Hall’s Aaron Cosby led the Pirates with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists.
A tough loss for a Villanova squad currently on the bubble for the NCAA tournament, essentially negating the big win over Marquette Saturday. The Wildcats will need another marquee win or two before the season concludes.