Villanova put together perhaps their best defensive performance of the season Monday night. With a rowdy Pavilion crowd watching, the Wildcats clamped the visiting Seton Hall Pirates down and won 76-46.
The game at times wasn’t particularly close as ‘Nova’s defense was scary good. Coming into the game, ‘Nova was ranked 21st in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency but on the whole had varying numbers.
Well, Seton Hall could only muster marks of 29.1 percent from the field and a meager 25.0 percent from the 3-point line against ‘Nova’s defense on Monday night, as they couldn’t hit just about anything. In fact, they missed 17 of their first 20 shots of the game. The one area where the Wildcats excelled on defense this year was around the perimeter, as they entered the game ranked sixth in the country in 3-point defense. Their standing will almost certainly shoot up after this performance Monday night.
Offensively, Villanova was strong as well. The ‘Cats shot 46.4 percent from the field, 46.2 percent from the 3-point line, and 90.9 percent from the free throw line. A plethora of Villanova’s roster was able to contribute as all who saw the floor scored at least seven points and four got into double figures. Kris Jenkins led the way with 16 points while sidekicks Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo and Eric Paschall chipped in 13, 11, 10 and 10.
Hart, a National Player of the Year candidate was a bit off his game as it took him 10 attempts to get those 11 points, but still shot a crisp 50 percent from the field. His 1-for-5 mark from 3 is a bit of an eyesore, sure, but something that can be glossed over a bit in a win of this fashion. His fellow peers however performed well from outside as Jenkins, Paschall and Brunson combined to shoot 9-for-14 from long range with Jenkins leading the charge with a 4-for-6 mark.
Redshirt freshman Donte DiVicenzo continued to find a groove Monday night as he scored 10 points, grabbed two boards and dished out two assists in 25 minutes of action. With Phil Booth’s tendinitis still plaguing him, it’s imperative that the ‘Cats get the most out of their assortment of role players. DiVincenzo looks like he’s more than capable to step up to the plate and take on the challenge as he’s averaged a solid 8.42 points per game in conference play so far.
Amidst a poor performance on the whole, Desi Rodriguez emerged with another strong effort. Rodriguez, who had been one of the most prodigious scorers in Big East play so far, picked up 15 points on 12 shots and was 3-for-8 from the 3-point line. Angel Delgado’s impressive streak of double doubles came to an end as the junior forward could only score eight points and grab six boards on the night. He was held in check to say the least as Monday night marked the first time since November 27 that Delgado was unable to get into double figures and only the fourth time all season.
Villanova improves to 18-1 on the year with the win over The Hall and turns their attention now to Providence, whom they play on Saturday. On the flip side, Seton Hall is now 12-6 on the year and are losers of their last three Big East contests and drop to 2-4 in the Big East. They will play St. John’s on Sunday at home as their three-game road trip concluded Monday night.