Hall loses to struggling Villanova
After a relentless fight, the Pirates fell to Villanova, 84-76, losing its second straight Big East game.
With nine minutes left to play, Seton Hall trailed the Wildcats, 57-52, with one timeout left and the conference’s best free-throw shooting team in double bonus.
However, it was Villanova’s freshman forward JayVaughn Pinkston who was unstoppable.
The Pirates were within four points but had no answer for Pinkston.
Junior guard Maalik Wayns dished to Pinkston who was posting on the low block.
With sophomore Aaron Geramipor on his back, Pinkson spun around for a difficult up-and-under, drawing the foul and making a three-point play.
Down five points, Seton Hall took its last timeout with 5:30 left to play, but the timeout proved ineffective as Bell drained his fourth 3-pointer of the night. Wayns followed with another three, stretching the Wildcats’ lead to 10.
The Pirate big men – senior Herb Pope, sophomore Patrik Auda and Geramipor – were all in foul trouble and the Pirates had no timeouts left, leaving them watching Villanova celebrate its victory.
At the end of the first half, Seton Hall trailed Villanova by nine points, 37-28.
With little over seven minutes on the clock, the Pirates were down 10 points before freshman forward Brandon Mobley sank back-to-back 3-pointers.
No matter, whether they faced the Wildcats’ zone or man-to-man defense, the Pirates were unable to knock down the wide-open shots, going 3-of-17 from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Villanova shot 3-of-10 from behind the arc and outrebounded the Hall 24-16.
Seton Hall began the second half with a different starting five, exchanging foul-plagued sophomore Auda for hot-shooting Mobley.
After not connecting on three’s in the first half, the Pirates still came out shooting with a pair of back-to-back three’s by freshman Aaron Cosby and sophomore Fuquan Edwin to cut the lead to four with just under 16 minutes left to play.
Seton Hall finally got within two points after Edwin’s put back from senior guard Jordan Theodore’s missed foul shot, but that was the closest the Hall would get.
Wildcats freshman forward Pinkston had his first double-double, finishing with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Junior guard Maalik Wayns added 25 points, five rebounds and seven steals while sophomore guard James Bell scored 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting from downtown.
Edwin led the Pirates with 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists and four steals.
Senior forward Herb Pope posted 10 points and eight rebounds, while contributing three steals and three blocks.
Seton Hall will look to get back on track against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at home.
Krissy Wrobel can be reached at email@example.com.