The men’s basketball team hosted the Villanova Wildcats in its home finale as Seton Hall celebrated their seniors, both the athletes and the managers, who are vital to the performance of the team.
Following a basket from Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, a projected lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft, the Pirates responded with 6 straight points thanks to back-to-back triples from Jamir Harris and Al-Amir Dawes. The Wildcats would take the largest lead of the game at the 6:01 mark thanks to a Whitmore three-pointer, pushing their lead to six.
The game was tied twice and there were five lead changes in the final minutes of the half, though The Hall was resilient and went into the break with a 3-point advantage, 37-34.
Dawes made the go-ahead basket to cap off his game-high 11 points in the first half. He also dished three assists in Kadary Richmond's absence. Femi Odukale added a stellar 8 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in a half that visibly pleased head coach Shaheen Holloway.
Villanova retook the lead thanks to baskets from Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels, and four lead changes followed in just two minutes. The rivals continued to battle, with a whopping seven more lead changes occurring and neither team leading by more than three points.
Dre Davis knocked the ball loose with the game tied 57-57 and found a running Odukale, who then made the assist for Dawes to put the Pirates ahead with 6 minutes remaining. Villanova would tie it and take the lead with four straight free throws from Eric Dixon.
A Tyrese Samuel make from behind-the-arc with 1:55 left in the game put The Hall ahead, 65-63, but that would be the final time Seton Hall held the advantage. The Wildcats closed the game with 11 consecutive free throws, as they handed the Pirates their final loss at home, 76-62.
Scoring for the Pirates was led by Dawes with 21 points on the strength of 3-for-5 from downtown. Odukale added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Samuel added 14 points and five rebounds on his Senior Night. Dawes and Odukale both played all 40 minutes.
The Pirates fall to 9-10 in conference play and 16-14 overall headed into the regular season finale. Seton Hall will travel to Providence to face the Friars on Saturday, Mar. 4th at 12:00 pm.
Thomas Donnelly can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @_tommyd023.