PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/27/2019 – The #18 Villanova Wildcats won their eighth straight game, all in conference, with a decisive 80 – 52 win over the Pirates of Seton Hall. The Wildcats gave a complete effort on both ends of the floor, and won behind the play of the senior leaders Phil Booth and Eric Paschall.
“We have work to do, but Phil and Eric, two of the best players in the country leading, and not just doing it scoring points,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright about the duo. “They’re defending, rebounding and getting their teammates shots. And what they do off the floor is really impactful on the young guys.”
Booth lead the team in scoring with a game-high 25 points. He set a career-mark making 7 of 13 from beyond the arc. the senior from Baltimore also added 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Paschall added 17 points and took down a game-best 8 rebounds.
As a team Villanova made 17 of 42 three-pointers, a new high mark in field goals made from distance.
All ten Wildcat players who were on the floor scored. Jermaine Samuels had 4 points, but contributed 3 assists, a career-best 3 steals, and he blocked 2 shots. It is indicative of improvement shown by the younger players.
“Both ends of the floor, playing together.” Booth said about how the underclassmen are getting better. “We got a lot of new guys on the team, and playing together, we are trusting each other more.”
“We are open to keep developing as a team,” Paschall said.
Nova was sparkling on defense holding Seton Hall to their lowest point total of the season. The defense for the Wildcats held the Pirates to 34.6% shooting (18 of 52) and forced 18 turnovers. Seton Hall had 66 possessions and scored on 23 of them, and got .788 points per possession. Villanova had the ball the same number of times but moved the scoreboard 32 times and had 1.212 points per possession. Hence the point differential. The largest margin of victory for Nova in this series was 36 points and that happened in 1964.
The Pirates leading scorer Myles Powell who came into the game averaging 22.2 points per game finished with just 3 points. It was the first time he had been held to single digits this season. Wright felt the team defense was another big reason for the victory.
“We were really proud of our defense,” Wright said. “I thought Joe Cremo and Collin Gillespie did a really good job on Myles Powell. In the second half it was just one of those days for Seton Hall. For us we have to concentrate on defense and I was really proud of that.”
Myles Cale from Middletown, DE led the Hall with 14 points, their only double-digit scorer. Seton Hall has dropped their last four games.
Villanova (16 – 4) stays atop the Big East standings with a 7 – 0 record a half-game ahead of Marquette who is 7 – 1. The remainder of the teams have less than a .500 record. The Wildcats and the Golden Eagles continue to fight it out for the top spot.
Nova goes on the road to DePaul before returning to the Wells Fargo Center to meet Georgetown next week.
Written By: Glenn Papazian