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MBB: Seton Hall falls to Villanova, suffers first conference loss

Kevin Willard USA Today

Kevin Willard USA Today

The Seton Hall University men’s basketball team was defeated by No. 11 Villanova 72-63 on Wednesday at the Pavilion in Pennsylvania.

In a sloppy game by both teams, sophomore Isaiah Whitehead took matters into his own hands scoring 20 points to pace the Pirates. The Pirates defense was strong as well holding Villanova to just 36.2 percent from the field, but foul trouble and bad rebounding led to the loss.

The Wildcats made 26 of 32 foul shots taken in the game as well as out rebounded the Hall 47-39 as well offensive rebounds 18-15. The defeat snaps a seven-game Seton Hall winning streak. The Pirates had not suffered a loss since Dec. 2, a span of 35 days. Villanova has now won 35 straight games at The Pavilion and is alone in first place in the BIG EAST. The Pirates are in a three-way tie for second place.

In addition to Whitehead, Khadeen Carrington scored 14 points and Derrick Gordon had eight points and 10 rebounds.

After a very defensive first half that saw the two teams shoot poorly and commit a combined 16 turnovers, the Pirates found the run they were looking for, turning a 13-point deficit into a 2-point one with a 17-6 run that spanned nearly six minutes. Whitehead was at the forefront, hitting a layup in traffic at 16:16 and burying a three-pointer at 15:16 to pull The Hall to within five, 38-33.

Then it was freshman Veer Singh’s turn for the heroic. After Villanova went ahead again by seven, it was Singh’s three-pointer in the corner that cut the lead to two, 42-40, with 11:46 to play.

With momentum on their side, the Pirates were unable to capitalize as the Wildcats began to take advantage of Hall foul trouble. The Pirates were whistled for two consecutive fouls, and Villanova converted all four free throws to go back up six.

Seton Hall had one more chance as Carrington hit a big jumper at 9:28 to again pull within three, 48-45, but the Wildcats’ prowess on the offensive glass and the free throw line proved too much. Villanova’s Daniel Ochefu tipped in his own miss, one of 18 offensive rebounds for ‘Nova, and the Wildcats then went to the line and sank five consecutive free throws to go back up 10. The Pirates went cold, making just five field goals in the final nine minutes.

The Pirates will be back in action on Saturday when they host Creighton at 2 p.m.

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