Seton Hall’s Myles Powell hit the bench in foul trouble at a crucial stretch of the game.
He had to take a spectator role, but he watched his teammates step up, as the Villanova Wildcats were unable to take advantage of the situation.
The No. 10 Wildcats were a couple of baskets away from overtaking the 12th-ranked Pirates for most of the second half, but they couldn’t muster the necessary plays to regain the lead. Seton Hall ended up hanging on for a 70-64 win.
“Seton Hall just played better than us,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “We didn’t play poorly. They’re just playing better as a team than we are right now. They’re a mature team with a lot of answers. They’ve got great experience, great leadership. That’s one of the best teams in the country...We have to play better to beat one of the best teams in the country. We didn’t today. We’ll be okay, we’ll get better.”
With Powell glued to the bench, Sandro Mamukelashvili was able to deliver for the Pirates, supplying 12 of his 17 points in the second half alone.
“Sandro made a couple of dagger threes and he hurt us on the offensive glass too,” Wright said.
Powell would eventually re-enter the game with just under five minutes to go, but was quiet to finish out the game, only hitting one shot until the final buzzer.
“This is six straight road wins,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “I’m more concerned about this team right now and what they’re doing, and I love their work ethic. I loved their focus yesterday. I thought this was a focused group, they were loose, but they were focused.”
Villanova started off slowly once again, with the Pirates taking an early 20-10 lead midway through the first half.
The Wildcats were able to buckle down defensively, holding Seton Hall to just two made shots over the final 10:37 before the break. During that time, Villanova was able to string together some scoring possessions, taking a 31-27 lead at half.
After the half, Seton Hall got a series of three-pointers by Powell, Mamukelashvili, and Jared Rhoden to get in front. Although Villanova was able answer, it was a back-and-forth game, with the Pirates holding a slight edge thanks to a 11-5 scoring burst after the first six minutes to begin the second.
‘Nova shot just 11-of-32 (34.4 percent) in the second half, with the offensive effort falling short of the Pirates.
With the loss, the Wildcats have now lost three-straight.
“We’re going to try to win the next game,” Wright said. “Once you go back to work, you don’t think about it as a three-game slide. You do now. Once we go back to practice, we just think about getting better the next day. It’s the same way if we have a three-game winning streak. You just concentrate on your next game.”
Saddiq Bey led the ‘Cats with a game-high 22 points. Collin Gillespie had 12 points (4-of-14 shooting), six rebounds, and four assists. Jermaine Samuels had all 10 of his points in the first half. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had nine points on a 4-of-15 shooting performance, with 14 boards.
Powell paced the Pirates with 19 points. Quincy McKnight had 14 points and seven boards. Rhoden added nine points and 11 rebounds off the bench.