Wildcats Blow by Seton Hall for Convincing Big East Win


Courtesy of Andrew McKeough

Wildcats Blow by Seton Hall for Convincing Big East Win

Danny Mezzalingua

The Villanova Wildcats completely outmatched the Seton Hall Pirates Sunday, winning 80-52 at the Wells Fargo Center behind dominant performances from Phil Booth and Eric Paschall.

In the first half, the Wildcats played solid team defense, forcing the Pirates to use the whole 30 seconds on the shot clock on multiple occasions. The ‘Cats also played extremely tight perimeter defense as they pressured Seton Hall to shoot an abysmal 20 percent from behind the arc. Villanova also generated six first-half steals and prevented any Seton Hall player from scoring in double-digits. Pirates forward Myles Cale led the way with eight first-half points for his team.

On the offensive end, Booth and Paschall carried the team in every way, scoring 26 out of the Wildcats 30 first-half points.

“I worry about that,” said head coach Jay Wright. “Not that they’re not good enough to carry us, but I just don’t want to wear ‘em out.”

Booth had the hot hand from behind the arc. The redshirt-senior hit four out of his eight three-point attempts, finishing with 14 first-half points along with two rebounds and two assists. Paschall put up 12 points on 5-7 shooting and four rebounds in the half. The Wildcats led 30-20 heading to the locker rooms.

The second-half was better for Villanova, offensively and defensively. After the team had six assists in the first-half, they were able to distribute 10 in the second. Many more players on the Wildcats were getting involved offensively including freshman Jahvon Quinerly, who scored all of his eight points in the second frame. Saddiq Bey also contributed with eight points of his own. Everyone Wildcat who appeared in the second half was able to appear in the scoring column, which was a substantial improvement from the first-half of play, where six players were held scoreless.

Villanova shot 55% in the second as well as 48% from behind the arc. Paschall finished the game with 17 points (7-12 FG) and eight rebounds, and was recognized during the game for reaching 1,000 career points. Booth also continued to add on to his stellar performance, adding three more triples, finishing with 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. Seton Hall’s Cale finished with 14 points on 5-7 shooting along with six rebounds in 28 minutes.

With a commanding lead, Wright gave promising freshman Brandon Slater some minutes. Slater made the most of his time on the floor, throwing down a one-handed slam for his only two points of the game.

Joe Cremo, who had shot just 3-15 from downtown in his last six games, continued to struggle on the offensive end, making one of his four attempts from three.

“With Joe Cremo, a couple times the things I got upset with him about was not shooting the ball when he was open,” Wright said after the game.

Despite his poor shooting performance, Wright credited Cremo after the game with playing tough defense on Pirates guard Myles Powell, who Wright described as “a hell of a player.”

The Wildcats had a fantastic team performance that stemmed from the leadership and dominant play from Booth and Paschall.

“I think [they are] two of the best players in the country,” said Wright. “Not just doing it scoring points. They’re defending, they’re rebounding, they’re getting teammates shots, and what they do off the floor is really impactful on these young guys.”