The Wildcats big 70 to 53 win over the Seton Hall Pirates tonight was more than just another win to add to the great season that they have been having. It was Jay Wright‘s 400th win as a head coach. He currently has 278 wins at Villanova.
It was not a pretty start for Villanova, they started the game 1 for 6 with three turnovers. James Bell had the opening layup, but then the Wildcats went cold. In the meantime, Seton Hall, a team that had been playing well on the road this season, began building a lead. Fuquan Edwin and Eugene Teague did most of the scoring in the opening minutes, getting Seton Hall an early 10-4 lead with just under 15 minutes remaining. Ryan Arcidiacono would end up breaking the dry spell with a mid range jumpshot. However, the Wildcats still struggled early on to find their shot, in part to Seton Hall covering the perimeter pretty well. Since the perimeter game was down, Villanova began to take it inside by driving to the hoop. The Wildcats would get to the line numerous times and deal damage that way, slowly chipping away at the lead. The game would go back and forth with Seton Hall barely hanging onto the lead, until Daniel Ochefu had a big dunk to tie the game up and put the crowd on their feet. Ochefu would follow it up with a layup to give the Wildcats the lead. From there the Wildcats would build on their lead with an 11-1 run and the score was 34-26 at the half.
The second half was the same ol’ song and dance for the Wildcats. They dominated second half play and built upon their lead. JayVaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu continued to dominate the paint, combining for 29 points and 14 for 17 shooting. Ochefu had some nice passes inside to Pinkston, getting him wide open dunks and layups. Pinkston returned the favor a few times to Ochefu. A number of highflying dunks and three point baskets got the crowd rocking. The highlight of the second half was a James Bell alley-oop dunk off of the feed from Darrun Hilliard. The Wildcats would be stretch the lead into the twenties, with their largest lead being by 21. Hilliard to take a hard foul by Seton Hall’s Sterling Gibbs. He would make one of two, providing the final point for the Wildcats. Gibbs would make the final basket of the game, and Villanova would kill the rest of the clock. As the clock ticked away, chants and cheers honored Wright’s 400th win.
Despite many students going home for the weekend due to the power outage earlier this week, there was still a strong presence in the packed student section. They made themselves audible and rattled Seton Hall with songs and chants. They were also there to cheer for the coach that has led the team to their best season since 2009.
For Villanova, four players reached the double digits in scoring. Bell finished with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Pinkston added 19 points, 6 rebounds, and a pair of assists. He was near perfect, shooting 9 for 11 on the floor. Ochefu ended the game with a double-double, 10 points and 10 rebounds. The big man also had 6 assists. Hilliard also chipped in 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The first time these two teams met, Seton Hall played without Fuquan Edwin and Eugene Teague. It would not really matter, as the duo only combined for 18 points and 12 rebounds. They each had six rebounds, Teague would have 10 of the 18 points. Edwin had no second half points. Sterling Gibbs was the top scorer for the Pirates with 16 points.
The Wildcats will travel to DePaul for a game this Wednesday, February 12. Tip off is at 8 p.m.