On Saturday night, Seton Hall lost to Villanova with a final score of 58-54. It was a crucial game that the Hall needed to win to increase their slim chances of making the NCAA Tournament. It was an ugly start for both teams in this matchup. Seven minutes into the game, the teams combined for 2 out of 18 field goals. One of Seton Hall’s strengths this season has been their ability to get to the free throw line, but in this game, they struggled. By the end of the first half, the Pirates had zero free throw attempts.
Photo Cred: Fan sided
The Wildcats’ offense started blazing hot in the second half while Seton Hall struggled. It was a rollercoaster of a half for the Pirates. They cut Villanova’s double-digit lead to 3 points with nine minutes left in the game, but they couldn’t close the gap after that. The Hall kept making scoring runs to keep the game close, but Villanova always answered with scoring runs of their own.
Photo Cred: The Setonian
“You’ve got to give them (Villanova) credit; they played good defense,” postgrad guard Jamir Harris said. “But at the end of the day, we have very capable playmakers and ball-handlers on this team. We’ve got to be stronger with the ball.”
Seton Hall’s defense was solid in this game, but their biggest downfalls were their turnovers and lack of free throws. The team totaled seven free throw attempts, far below their average of 15 free throws per game. At the same time, the Pirates’ 18 turnovers allowed Villanova to get on the scoring runs that changed the momentum. The Pirates (15-11 overall, 8-7 Big East) took a serious dent in their NCAA Tournament hopes on a day when most fellow bubble teams also lost.
Photo Cred: 24/7 Sports
Tyrese Samuel, Al-Amir Dawes, and Kadary Richmond were Seton Hall’s top performers; they scored double digits in points. Tyrese Samuel had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Villanova. This was a crucial loss for Seton Hall. They will likely need to win four out of their last five games to have a chance at the NCAA Tournament. The past nine meetings between these programs have been decided by eight or fewer points, with Villanova holding a 7-2 advantage.