Despite missing Darryl Reynolds for the third straight game, the #2 Villanova Wildcats went on the road and ruthlessly dismantled the Seton Hall Pirates [score] to clinch a share of their 4th straight Big East regular season title.
Jalen Brunson was masterful recording 22 points on a perfect 7-7 from the field to go with 10 assists for his first career double-double. The Wildcats defense was outstanding for most of the day as well. Khadeen Carrington and Angelo Delgado both got their points, but they had to really work for them and had some forced turnovers in the process that fueled Villanova’s fast-break game.
Seton Hall opened the game with some strong play that got The Prudential Center crowd rocking, but Villanova responded with a 14-2 run and kept the Pirates at an arm’s length throughout the first half.
Jalen Brunson and Kris Jenkins (22 points, 5-6 3FG) were both outstanding in the opening 20 minutes, with the former putting together an incredible final few minutes to stretch Villanova’s lead to 42-31 at the half.
Pirates coach Kevin Willard bemoaned his team’s defensive effort during his halftime interview, but his message didn’t seem to get through. Villanova shredded the Pirates right out of the gates in the second half, forcing a quick timeout from Willard. At one point the ‘Cats hit 11 straight shots from the field dating back to the first half before a miss from Josh Hart.
The game quickly went from contested to a laugher with Villanova opening a 24-point lead just five minutes into the second half and continuing to pour it on all afternoon with Mikal Bridges (15 points) and Hart (19 points) repeatedly getting to the rim for easy dunks and layups. Hart capped the offensive onslaught with a ferocious putback jam late in the second half.
Jay Wright even found 47 seconds for his Bench Mob with Tom Leibig, Matt Kennedy and Denny Grace getting some game time at the end.
Villanova can win the Big East regular season title outright with their next win. They host the Butler Bulldogs on Wednesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 9pm ET.