The Villanova Wildcats bounced back from a rough first half to crush the Seton Hall Pirates 80-52. This victory continues the ‘Cats hot stretch as they improve to 16-4 overall and 7-0 in Big East play. This game was a tale of two halves as the ‘Cats were able to handily defeat the Pirates after a close first half.
Both teams began the game in a sloppy manner as they combined for 24 turnovers in the first half, 14 by Seton Hall and 10 by Villanova. Along with the turnovers, both teams also shot poorly in the first half. In fact, Seton Hall began the game by turning the ball over 12 times while only taking 12 shots in the first 12 minutes of the game. Even though the Pirates were struggling to start the game, the ‘Cats were unable to capitalize as they only took a 30-20 lead into the halftime break. This was largely due to Paschall and Booth taking over and scoring 26 of their 30 total points.
After the break, the ‘Cats came out firing on all cylinders as they broke this game open. In the second half, Villanova scored 50 points which was almost more than Seton Hall’s 52 points for the whole game. Villanova made 9 three-pointers in the first 11 minutes to pull away from the Pirates for good. This onslaught of offense while playing lock down defense allowed Coach Wright to give the ‘Cats top three scorers, Booth, Paschall, and Collin Gillespie, a rest while allowing the younger players to gain more experience in the final 8 minutes. Players such as Jahvon Quinerly and Brandon Slater were able to show flashes of what they are capable of bringing to the table in a larger role in the future.
Overall, Villanova took 58 shots with 42 of them being three-pointers. The ‘Cats shot 48% from the field and 41% from deep while making 17 threes. Booth led the way with 25 points while making 7 three-pointers and adding 5 assists. Paschall had another big game scoring 17 points and grabbing 8 rebounds while achieving a significant milestone. On his final point, Paschall scored his 1000th career point for the Wildcats while only playing two and a half seasons for them.
Seton Hall came into this game looking for their first win since January 9th as well as their first win over Villanova on the road since 1994. However, the Pirates were unable to snap either of those streaks as they struggling on both sides of the ball. The only Pirate to score in double figures was guard Myles Cale while star guard Myles Powell was held to a season low 3 points. Seton Hall’s defense allowed Villanova to score in seemly every possession in the second half.