‘Nova Prevails in Overtime, Beats Seton Hall



‘Nova Prevails in Overtime, Beats Seton Hall

Greg Welsh

The Villanova Wildcats narrowly avoided dropping back to back games for the first time since 2013, edging Seton Hall in a nail biting affair, 69-68, at the Prudential Center in Newark.

After regulation ended in a 52-52 tie, the two Big Easy foes battled it out in overtime, with the Wildcats eventually prevailing in dramatic fashion. Mikal Bridges led the way for the ‘Cats, scoring 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four assists.

The game’s first half was characterized by a combination of strong defense and poor shooting. After Mikal Bridges scored the Wildcats’ first seven points early on, and Seton Hall hit their first two shots of the game, both offenses went stagnant. Villanova would finish the first half shooting just 32% from the field and 20% from three-point range, while Seton hall would not fare any better, shooting just 21% from the field and a lowly 8% from three.

It was much of the same during second half, with the defenses winning the battle on both ends of the floor. Villanova maintained the lead early in the second half, at one point stretching the margin to 36-25, before a Seton Hall surge allowed the Pirates to take the lead, 39-38, with 7:43 to go. The 14-2 Seton Hall run was fueled by sophomore Myles Powell, who scored eight points during the stretch. Powell would finish with 13 for the Pirates, their second leading scorer on the night behind only senior Khadeen Carrington, who had 23.

The game remained neck and neck coming down the stretch. Jalen Brunson, who was unusually quiet for much of the game, came out of hiding with three key baskets in the game’s final minutes.

With 23 seconds to go, Brunson had a chance to ice the game for ‘Nova as he stood on the line with the ‘Cats in front 52-51. However, Brunson missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Bridges fouled Carrington on the other end. Carrington hit just one of his two free throws, leaving the game tied with 12 seconds to play. Donte DiVincenzo tried a deep three at the buzzer for the win but was off the mark, sending the game to overtime.

In the extra period, the offenses finally began to heat up for both teams. With Brunson and Bridges leading the way, Villanova built up a 66-59 lead with 25 seconds left to play. 

The Pirates refused to go away however, knocking down a three before forcing a five-second-violation on the ensuing inbounds play. Seton Hall would then trim the lead to two on a Powell jumper. Forced to foul, Seton Hall targeted Omari Spellman, one of the Wildcats’ weaker free throw shooters. Sure enough, Spellman hit just one of two, giving Seton Hall a chance.

The Pirates got a quick two-point basket by Carrington, before fouling Brunson. Brunson would redeem his earlier miss at the line by knocking down both foul-shots to put Nova up three. On Seton Hall’s final opportunity, Bridges intentionally fouled Carrington, sending him to the line for two shots with his team facing a three-point deficit. After knocking down the first shot, Carrington attempted to miss the second in order to give his team a chance at a put-back, but the ball caromed off the glass and into the basket, ending Seton Hall’s hopes.

Villanova will look to close out the regular season with a win this Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center against Georgetown. Game time is set for 5 p.m.