Are we allowed to say the grittier team won? Maybe, maybe not. We are allowed to say a gritty team won, since both teams inside the Wells Fargo Center Saturday afternoon displayed it in large increments.
We’re certainly allowed to say the deeper team won. Seton Hall 70, Villanova 64.
- No. 12 Seton Hall 70, No. 10 Villanova 64: Stats, highlights and reaction from the game of the year (to date) in the Big East
- Villanova receives a No. 3 seed in the preliminary bracket reveal for the 2020 NCAA Tournament
- No. 10 Villanova and No. 12 Seton Hall, the Big East’s top two teams, to meet in front of a sellout crowd
He might be national player of the year. Certainly a contender. It wasn’t his afternoon, rarely fully in sync. That didn’t seem to matter when Powell rose for a step-back jumper over Saddiq Bey, his team up four points late. When his feet hit the ground, he was smiling and Seton Hall was up six. There’s nobody in the country you’d rather take that shot.
Yeah, he airballed a three later, late in the shot clock, Collin Gillespie defending. It wasn’t his day. Didn’t matter. Put his 19 points down as hard-earned.
Villanova guys all took their turns on Powell. Not just on switches either. If Seton Hall came down court fast, the closest defender started on Powell. No reason to mess up the floor balance to have a designated defender on him.
They all gave Powell enough tough looks that his 3-for-9 first half seemed about right. It wasn’t like Villanova sold out the rest of their principles to switch all their attention to Powell. He didn’t have any assists at the break. Seton Hall had 4 assists to 10 turnovers
Twice in each half, Collin Gillespie took a charge from Powell underneath. Either call could have gone either way.
The Pirates are mentioned in those Final Four discussions because of their depth backing up their star. Romaro Gill is a scary sight inside, capable of blocking any shot at any time. But when Gill went to the bench, with Powell also on the bench, 6-11 Sandro Mamukelashvili kept the Pirates afloat. He had a tip-in, then he blocked Roboinson’Earl’s shot, then he hit a three, then he had a three-shot personal possession ... miss, miss, make inside. Star of the game, 17 points, 8 rebounds, all crucial, 12 and 6 in the second half.
Villanova’s point guard took the briefest of breaks in the first half and Seton Hall immediately went zone, seeing if a Gillespie-less lineup could manever through it. They got a shot, but it was a contested missed thre. Gillespie got right back in there. Seton Hall went back to man-to-man.
Villanova’s inability to convert late close to the rim. Moore drove and missed. Bey drove and missed. A Robinson-Earl follow-up didn’t fall. Seton Hall took care of business at the foul line to finish things off.