AP

'Nova Clinches Big East at Hall

Villanova (#2 AP, 26-2, 13-2) clinched an unprecedented, fourth consecutive Big East regular season championship with a 92-70 win over Seton Hall this afternoon in Newark ...

Villanova beat Seton Hall soundly this afternoon in Newark, 92-70.  The win clinched a fourth consecutive Big East regular season championship for the Cats - becoming the first program ever to win four straight.  ‘Nova swept the season series with Seton Hall by an average margin of 26 points.  ‘Nova is now 70-40 all-time against the Pirates.

Jalen Brunson was the game MVP again for Villanova with his first career double-double (22 points, 10 assists and 0 missed field goals.  Kris Jenkins drained five threes on his way to 22 points.  Josh Hart posted 19 and Mikal Bridges added 15.  

The ‘Nova offense was very efficient.  The Cats shared the ball beautifully, exploited mis-matches, and made over two-thirds of their shots.

Villanova played a variety of man and zone defense.  Despite not really having an answer for Angel Delgado, it didn’t make much difference.  The Cats limited Khadeen Carrington for more than half of the game and Desi Rodriguez for the majority of it.  Carrington came on in the second half to try to thrust his team back into the game.  The talented Junior would end up with 22 points.  The eleven points for Madison Jones were primarily the result of the Wildcats paying him little attention.

Goods:

  • Shooting: 67.3% FG, 57.1% 3PFG, 75% 2PFG
  • Held Seton Hall to 29.2% 3PFG
  • 26-23 edge in rebounding
  • +15 scoring advantage from beyond the arc
  • 16 Assists on 32 Makes and only 11 TOs

Others:

  • Allowed 11 O-boards

Players:

Josh Hart (32 Min, 19 Points, 8-16 FG, 1-4 3PFG, 2-3 FTs, 4 Rebounds, 1 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 1 Steal, 0 Blocks, 111 ORtg)  Hart picked up two first half fouls and lost a few minutes of playing time but was efficient across the time he did play.  He stroked one, ultra-pure, corner three-ball but came up empty on his other attempts from beyond the arc.  Hart made a highlight reel-worthy, put-back dunk in the second half and scored in a variety of ways off dribble-drive moves to post 19 points.  Hart defended well on Khadeen Carrington (and others).

Kris Jenkins (36 Min, 22 Points, 8-10 FG, 5-6 3PFG, 1-2 FT, 4 Rebounds, 0 Assists, 2 Steals, 1 Turnover, 172 ORtg)  Jenkins was a model of offensive efficiency shooting the ball in this game.  His three-point stroke looked as pure as ever as he scored 15 of his 22 points from deep.  He defended and rebounded well in the paint - something the Cats really needed in this game with Darryl Reynolds unavailable.  He grabbed one steal on the wing and another fronting the post.  Excellent bounce-back game from Big Smoove after a bit of a slump for him offensively.

Mikal Bridges (31 Min, 15 points, 5-8 FGs, 2-4 3PFG, 3-3 FTs, 4 Rebounds, 1 Assists, 0 Turnovers, 2 Steals, 1 Block, 167 ORtg)  Another game, another versatile performance from the Soph.  He stroked the three-ball, got to the rim along the baseline, provided interior and perimeter defense, rebounded his area and took great care of the rock.  Bridges plays such smart basketball.  He doesn’t try to do things that are beyond his ability-level.  He never plays anything other than team-first basketball.

Jalen Brunson (32 Min, 22 Points, 7-7 FGs, 2-2 3PFG, 6-7 FTs, 4 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 3 Turnovers, 0 Steals, 177 ORtg)  Easily the game MVP - again!  He controlled the game by dictating tempo and guiding the Villanova offense to 1.44 points per possession.  It seemed as if every jumper he shot dropped right in the center of the bucket.  He took guys off the dribble, drained pull-up, mid-range jumpers, nailed spot-up three-balls, and found his teammates with precision passes.  Through all the bumps and bruises and eligibility garbage that cost the team the services of Omari Spellman, Phil Booth and most recently, Darryl Reynolds, the consistently superior play of Hart, Jenkins, Bridges and Brunson have led this team to 26-2.

Eric Paschall (17 Min, 9 Points, 3-4 FGs, 2-3 3PFG, 1-1 FT, 2 Rebounds, 1 Assists, 1 Turnovers, 0 Steals, 1 Block, 160 ORtg)  Paschall canned multiple 3-balls in a game for the first time since making 2-4 from deep against Seton Hall at the Pavilion nine games ago.  He took the threes in the flow of the offense - stepping into the shots while practically unguarded - certainly high percentage looks.  Paschall played limited minutes due to foul trouble.  He struggled to match-up with Angel Delgado but then most players in the league do.

Donte DiVincenzo (32 Min, 3 Points, 1-3 FG, 0-2 3PFG, 1-2 FT, 4 Rebound, 3 Assist, 2 Turnovers, 1 Steal, 1 Block, 96 ORtg)  DiVincenzo didn’t get a lot of shots in the flow of the offense but he did a nice job on defense and chipping in on the glass.  His blocked shot on Sanogo was impressive to say the least.  DiVincenzo didn’t need to score to play a significant role in this win for the Cats.  He has developed quite an all-around game already for a Frosh.

Dylan Painter (13 Min, 2 Points, 1-1 FG, 1 Rebound, 1 TO, 82 ORtg)  Painter knocked down a straight-away, mid-range jumper, mixed it up in the paint on defense and grabbed a defensive rebound.  Seton Hall did not shy away from attacking him with their offense when he was in the game.  

Matt Kennedy, Tom Leibig, & Denny Grace - the walk-ons got some run in the final minute of the game and performed flawlessly!

Villanova (#2 AP, 26-2 overall, 13-2 Big East) next plays Wednesday night at the Pavilion against Butler.

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