Seton Hall no match for No. 2 Villanova

The Villanova-Seton Hall matchup has been defined by batches of threes since the realignment of the Big East.

Seton Hall has defeated Nova in each of its past three seasons. That didn’t happen on Saturday, as a barrage of Villanova three-pointers put Seton Hall away.

Seton Hall never bounced back after a sluggish end to the first half and start to the second. SHU fell to No. 2 Villanova 92-70 in front of a sold out, 16,733-person Prudential Center crowd. Seton Hall is now 16-10 on the season and 6-8 in Big East play.

Thanks to Seton Hall’s presence in the paint, the Pirates were competitive throughout almost the entire first half. Seton Hall went to a quick 4-0 lead in the first minute of the game, leading by six points in the first three minutes. But Villanova, in time, would make its presence known.

Each team struggled from three in the first half, which largely kept Seton Hall in the game until the Wildcats started draining from deep. Villanova took over in the second half and finished the game shooting 12-21 from distance, while Seton Hall finished 7-24.

While Seton Hall scored more in the second half than it did in the first, Villanova had an answer for every bucket, shooting 75 percent in the second half alone. Nova’s largest lead in the game was 27 points.

For Kevin Willard, it all came down to Villanova’s ability to shoot the ball. Villanova finished the game with a shot percentage of 67.3 from the field. The Wildcat trio of Jalen Brunson, Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart were deadly, combining for 63 points on 23-33 shooting.

“I don’t think they missed a shot for like, 12 minutes, so I would probably say that was the biggest thing they were doing,” Willard said. “You’re looking at 11 [-point deficit], it’s not that bad; you look at 17, it’s a little deflating.”

Villanova head coach Jay Wright said his team’s performance was one its best offensively all season.

“We made shots,” Wright said. “When we make shots like that, you’re going to probably win most games. We’ve had a lot of tough battles with them, even early, we made some tough shots.”

SHU’s Angel Delgado took advantage of mismatches in the paint. He finished with his 21st double-double of the season, putting up 19 points and 12 rebounds. Delgado said Seton Hall did all it could do when a team is shooting like Nova did today.

“The difference was they didn’t miss no shots,” Delgado said. “They play hard, we played hard too…it’s a tough team.”

After scoring 41 points against Creighton on Feb. 15, Khadeen Carrington was quiet until the second half. He finished as the team’s leading scorer with 22 points.

Madison Jones was also active, hitting four of his six shots and recording a team-high four assists. Myles Powell went 1-9 from three, never being able to find his groove.

Coming up next for Seton Hall is a home game against Xavier on Feb. 22. While Delgado says the team still remains positive and believes it can make the NCAA Tournament, Carrington knows there is still work to be done.

When asked if the game against Xavier is a must-win, he responded, “Yeah, definitely.”

Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at elizabeth.swinton@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @eswint22. 

Author: Elizabeth Swinton

Elizabeth Swinton is a television production major at Seton Hall University where she serves as Sports Editor of The Setonian. In addition, Swinton is a social media specialist and contributing writer for The Brooklyn Game. You can follow her on Twitter @eswint22

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