Late run not enough as Pirates fall to No. 14 Villanova 60-57
Senior Jeremy Hazell’s three point shot with seconds remaining bounced off the rim and out as the Pirates fell to the No. 14 Villanova Wildcats 60-57. The Hall finished the game on a 9-3 run but was not enough as their record goes to 11-15 overall and 5-9 in the Big East.
“It was a great look,” Hazell said. “I thought it was going down, it just didn’t fall.”
Hazell led all scorers in the game with 25 points on 9-23 shooting. Junior Jordan Theodore was the only other Pirate in double figures with 10 points off of the bench.
Freshman James Bell led the Wildcats with 21 points. Bell has averaged 1.8 points per game this season. Seniors Corey Fisher and Antonio Pena scored 12 and 10 points respectively.
Defensively, the Hall forced 22 Villanova turnovers to seven, but only scored 19 points off of those turnovers, to the Wildcats 13 points off turnovers.
Shooting was the difference in the game with Villanova shooting 49 percent to the Pirates 33 percent. The Hall also shot 15 percent from three on 4-26 shooting, with Hazell making all four threes.
“We got a lot of good stops but at the end of the game didn’t get the ones we wanted,” Hazell said. “We didn’t capitalize on the offensive game.”
With the Hall down 45-43, senior Herb Pope would pick up his fourth foul with 9:35 remaining in the game, and would go to the bench, but only for three minutes. Two minutes later Villanova would enter the double-bonus with an off the ball foul on freshman Patrick Auda.
“I don’t know,” Pope said about picking up his forth with a smile. “It was a great call.”
Wildcats would go on 9-2 run, which started with Pope on the bench, to get their biggest lead of the game at 57-48 with 5:34 left, but only scored three points the rest of the game.
Senior Eniel Polynice stopped the run with a layup and started the Pirates on a run of their own of 7-0 highlighted by a Hazell steal to another layup cutting the score to 57-55.
During the run, Pope went to the free throw line for a one and one after being fouled around the basket. Pope made the first shot but missed the second.
“I got to make more free throws,” Pope said. “O got to get two shots instead of one in the one and one.”
After Bell’s layup, the Hall responded with Pope converting two free throws after just missing the shot.
Down 59-57, Willard called the Hall’s final timeout with 25 seconds left. Off of the time out Hazell drove the lane but the shot hit the back of the rim and fell out.
“There was a lot of time on the clock and only down 1 or 2 points,” Hazell said. “I didn’t need to take the quick shot or three, so I went to try and drive to the basket. Shot just didn’t go down.”
On the line shooting two free throws with 11 seconds to go, Pena made the first of two shots but missed the second one with 14 seconds. Hazell took the last second shot but just missed with seconds remaining.
“We’re just not getting a break,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “We’re not getting a bounce, but I was really happy with their effort tonight. The effort was outstanding.”
The matchup was the 100 meeting between the two schools in their history, with Villanova holding the 63-37 advantage.
The Pirates head to Milwaukee, Wis. to face the Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday Feb. 19 at 9:00 p.m.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org