The 6th ranked Villanova Wildcats (24-2, 11-2 Big East) capsized the Seton Hall Pirates (15-11, 5-9 Big East) 80-54 on Monday night, February 16th, at the Paviilion (before a capacity crowd). For the Wildcats, it was their seventh straight win, and their 11th win in their last twelve games. With the victory, Villanova avenged an earlier season overtime loss to the Pirates in Newark, New Jersey.
Villanova led from start to finish running out to a 7-0 lead in the early minutes of the first half. Seton Hall made a brief run to make it a one-point game 14-13. The Wildcats quickly regrouped and took command. By the intermission, Villanova was up by a score of 36-20. Villanova hit 12-26 shots in the first half, including 6-15 three-point shots. The Wildcats limited the Pirates to 8-30 shooting (26.7%), including 3-15 from long-range (20%) in the first twenty minutes.
In the second-half, the Wildcats dominated the Pirates. Villanova continued to share the ball and maintain their hot-hand by hitting 14-27 shots from the field (51.9%). During the second-half, Ryan Arcidiacono eclipsed the 1,000 point plateau for his career. The milestone was reached when Arcidiacono canned two free throws following a flagrant-2 foul by Seton Hall’s Sterling Gibbs, who was ejected for punching Arcidiacono in the face during a battle for a loose ball. Gibbs was ejected following the play.
Following the game, Gibbs apologized directly to Arcidiacono through Twitter: “Man that’s not who I am. I’m sorry to my family, friends, fans, and team for being an embarrassment. Even more sorry to
@RyArch15. I let My emotions get the best of me and that wasn’t acceptable at all. I hope you’re alright and I will face any consequences coming. Sorry again @RyArch15 it really is weighing heavy on my heart.” To which Arcidiacono replied: “Emotions sometimes get the best of us. heat of the moment thing. We’re all good @SterlingGibbs4.”
Villanova had five players score in double figures. Leading the way was Darrun Hilliard, the hero of Saturday’s classic tussle with Butler, with 18 points. Dylan Ennis added 12 points, Daniel Ochefu had 11 points to go with a game-high 12 rebounds, Arcidiacono and JayVaughn Pinkston both chipped in with 10. Josh Hart had a miserable shooting night – but contributed 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. Phil Booth had 8 points and 3 assists. Villanova had 22 assists on 26 made baskets against only 8 turnovers. Villanova also won the rebounding battle 37-36. Former Villanova star and current NBA player Randy Foye was in the building the watch the Wildcats notch their record 24th win with just two losses (the second best start was 22-2).
For Seton Hall, the loss was their 5th straight. Overall, the Pirates shot 32.3% from the field, hitting 20 of 62 shot attempts. The Pirates did hit a higher percentage of their three-point shots in the second half (6-12) to wind up hitting 9-28 (32.1%) from distance. Isaiah Whitehead was Seton Hall’s leading scorer with 15 points. Gibbs added 12. Angel Delgado was the Pirates leading rebounder with 10.
Villanova returns to action on Saturday afternoon, February 21, when it travels to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to play Marquette at 230 PM. Next up for Seton Hall, as it tries to right the ship, is a game against St. John’s in Queens, N. Y. at noon time on Saturday.
[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]
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