Looking for an upset against the nation’s No. 2 team, the Seton Hall Pirates lost to Villanova, 81-71, on the road Tuesday night.
The Pirates kept themselves close in the game, at one juncture taking a two-point lead with 12:55 to play in regulation. However, after Hazell gave the Hall the lead, the Wildcats went on a 25-13 run to end the game.”If we didn’t come ready to win tonight, we lose,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “Seton Hall is a good team.”Junior Jeremy Hazell had a game-high 32 points for the Pirates, going 12-23 from the field and 6-12 from beyond the arc before being pulled out of the game with four minutes to play.Head coach Bobby Gonzalez noted that the reasoning behind putting Hazell on the bench was because of the style of play that he had.”You can’t just all of a sudden start going one-on-five and putting your head down and looking for the refs to bail you out and complaining on every call and taking bad shots,” Gonzalez said. “Its not good for the team, the offense, the coaching staff. It’s just not good. It’s not the way you want to play college basketball.”Hazell was not available for comment. No other Pirate scored double figures in the game.”We have to get someone else in double figures,” Gonzalez said. “We can’t win with Jeremy Hazell getting 32 and everyone else getting 6, 8, and 7.”For Villanova, four players scored in double figures, led by redshirt junior Antonio Pena with 16.Senior guard Scottie Reynolds had 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half. “If I had a vote, right now today, I’d pick Scottie Reynolds to be ‘Player of the Year,'” Gonzalez said. “I think he’s a winner. He finds ways to help them win games. He’s huge. He makes a lot of little plays that don’t end up on the stat sheet.”Reynolds now sits ninth in Villanova history with 2,008 career points, the eighth Wildcat to reach the 2,000 point plateau all-time.A key to the game all night was the battle on the boards. The Hall was outrebounded by the Wildcats, 50-31. Villanova also had 21 offensive boards which led to 17 second chance points.Statistically, both teams made the same amount of baskets from the floor, 35. However, Villanova made 10 more free throws than Seton Hall, the Pirates committed 23 personal fouls in the game.”We couldn’t score, we didn’t get stops and put the ball in the basket when we needed to,” Gonzalez said. This is the Hall’s second straight loss on the road, as they lost to the University of South Florida, 76-74 in overtime, on Jan. 28.On the floor, the Pirates were led again by Hazell with 28 points. After hitting four of his first seven three point attempts, Hazell could not get his shot going in the second half. He finished the game 9-20 from the field and 5-13 from beyond the arc.The Hall out rebounded the Bulls, 37-33, including 17 offensive rebounds. However, USF made up for their lack of boards in overtime, grabbing two key rebounds in the finalminute of the period.The Pirates were able to contain junior Dominique Jones for the first half, but Jones made Hazell-like in the second half, finishing with 28 in the contest.Junior Jarrid Famous, who was once favored to go to Seton Hall, tallied a double-double in the game with 15 points and 14 rebounds. The Pirates return to action on Saturday when the Hall heads to No. 22 Pittsburgh for the back end of their home-and-home series. The Pirates defeated the Panthers in their last meeting on Jan. 24, 64-61.Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.Tim LeCras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.