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Villanova escapes Newark with 69-68 overtime victory over Seton Hall

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It wasn’t pretty, but the Wildcats walk out of the Prudential Center with a win.

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Villanova Wildcats’ streak of avoiding back-to-back losses survived to live another day, after the Wildcats held off the Seton Hall Pirates to win, 69-68, in overtime.

Jalen Brunson, who fought tooth and nail for every shot he made, kept Villanova’s offense going late, but Seton Hall seemed to always have an answer and they pushed the ‘Cats to overtime. Villanova controlled much of the overtime period, but some head-scratching mental mistakes gave the Pirates a glimmer of hope at the end. Seton Hall would fail to execute a purposeful miss from the line with a second left and Villanova emerged victorious.

After a rough, back-and-forth start that didn’t feature much offense, the Wildcats were seemingly able to pull away with an 11-point lead at one moment in the second half. However, the lead was erased by a Seton Hall run.

A tough Brunson finish in the paint and a clutch Mikal Bridges steal and finish gave Villanova a 52-49 lead with under a minute to go, but Khadeen Carrington would not let SHU go down without a fight. The junior guard fought to earn two trips to the line in the waning seconds of regulation to draw the Pirates level. With a chance to win in regulation, Donte DiVincenzo missed a deep three and the game proceeded into overtime.

In overtime, Villanova pounced on Seton Hall, taking a five point lead following threes from Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges. Fatigue began kicking in, as Villanova could not stretch the lead further, missing several good looks. The Wildcats remained solid on defense, however forcing some key stops. A Brunson mid-range pull-up and a Villanova stop allowed the Wildcats to stretch the lead to seven.

Villanova didn’t make the closing moments of the game easy for itself, giving up some easy baskets and committing a careless five second violation, allowing SHU to cut its lead to just one. Villanova got the ball to Jalen Brunson with five seconds to play and Villanova’s leader knocked down two clutch free throws to give the Wildcats a three point lead. Carrington was unable to execute at the line following a tactical Villanova foul with one second left and Villanova came away with the win.

Villanova would finish a lowly 36.4% from the floor and 22.2% from three. The defense remained strong throughout, holding SHU to just 38.5% shooting with 12 turnovers.

Mikal Bridges led the the ‘Cats, finishing with 23 points on 9-18 shooting, adding 10 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Brunson struggled again, but managed to score 14 points on 6-15 shooting with many of his baskets coming in clutch at the end of the game.

For Seton Hall, Khadeen Carrington carried the load, finishing with 23 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. The Wildcats frustrated Angel Delgado again to the tune of just 7 points on 2-of-7 shooting.

Next up Villanova faces Georgetown (15-13, 5-12) at the Wells Fargo Center to close out the regular season.