Villanova improves to 7-0 in Big East play with win over Seton Hall



Pat Ralph

          The No. 4 ranked Villanova Wildcats (17-2) slipped by the Seton Hall Pirates (13-5) 72-71 on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center to remain undefeated in Big East play at 7-0.

          Junior guard Josh Hart led the way for the Wildcats with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds in the contest. Along with Hart, junior forward Kris Jenkins finished with 12 points and senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono finished with 10 points on the night. Redshirt freshman Mikal Bridges ignited the ’Cats off the bench with 10 points as well.

          The Wildcats were able to find a way to win without much help from senior big man Daniel Ochefu, who was in foul trouble for most of the game.

          After struggling offensively this past Saturday in the victory at Georgetown, Villanova’s offense was able to get back on track against the Pirates Wednesday night. The Wildcats finished the game shooting 46 percent from the field and a sizzling 53 percent from three-point land. Freshman point guard Jalen Brunson led the way for the ’Cats with three makes from three-point land in the contest.

          Despite Ochefu’s foul trouble for much of the game, the Wildcats’ interior defense was magnificent as Villanova finished with seven blocked shots in the contest. Ochefu finished with a team-high four blocks in the game.

          However, Villanova struggled to take good care of the basketball against Seton Hall on Wednesday night. Seton Hall’s defense had six steals, including three by sophomore forward Desi Rodriguez, and forced Villanova into 11 turnovers in the game. While much credit goes to Seton Hall’s defense, Villanova will need to do a better job at cutting down turnovers as the season continues.

          The loss drops the Pirates to an even .500 (3-3) in Big East play thus far. Sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead led all scorers in the contest with 21 points, while fellow sophomore guard Khadeen Carrington had 17 points on the night. The sophomore forward duo of Rodriguez and Angel Delgado poured in 14 points and 12 points respectively. Delgado also led Seton Hall in rebounds with eight, while Whitehead dished out five assists. Seton Hall finished the game shooting 41 percent from the field and 39 percent from three.

          Next up for the Wildcats is a home contest against the No. 16 Providence Friars (16-3 overall, 4-2 in Big East) this Saturday. Coming off a huge home win over the No. 18 Butler Bulldogs, the Friars feature one of the best players in the country in junior point guard Kris Dunn. Tip-off at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday is slated for Noon and can be seen on FOX.