Philadelphia, Pa. — Seton Hall battled No. 1 Villanova tooth and nail for 30 minutes, but were ultimately overwhelmed 92-76 in a hard-fought loss at Wells Fargo Center.
Seton Hall couldn’t get stops when it really mattered. They did well defensively for most of the first 20 minutes, but they couldn’t sustain it for the full 40. That said, Ish Sanogo and Angel Delgado deserve some credit for what they brought to defensive end and to the paint battle in general; Sanogo came up with several highlight reel blocks and his usual hustle plays.
Willard had his hands full from a management perspective. Between Desi Rodriguez’ three fouls in the first half and Khadeen Carrington picking up his fourth foul midway through the second half, Willard had to deal with some extra variables that go along with playing at the nation’s top team. As a result, he had to get creative by using walk-on Philip Flory on the last possession of the first half, Jordan Walker at a key point in the second period, and several lineups that consisted of three bench players.
It’s hard not to point out the officiating discrepancy: Villanova had just nine fouls to Seton Hall’s 17 when the game was effectively over. Right or wrong, I’ll let you be the judge, but it did seem like some of the 50-50 physical calls were being given to the hosts rather than the Hall. But that may just be human nature.
Seton Hall did well to keep the game close despite a few of their vital signs not checking out. Perhaps the most prominent was the Pirates making just one three in the first half and they had just two three-balls nearly 30 minutes into the game before Myles Powell let a barrage loose with about ten to play, which turned out to be too little, too late.
Speaking of vitals, the Hall of course did a few things right or they wouldn’t have been in the game for so long. There wasn’t a ton of open-court action, but Seton Hall made the most of it (7-2) when there was. Particularly early, Angel Delgado and Ish Sanogo played a strong game in the paint which resulted in the visitors holding a rebounding edge (until last 8 minutes) as well as edging the paint battle 38-34.
It was just my second college hoops game at Wells Fargo Center. While the crowd size and volume impressed me given the Super Bowl distraction, it always felt like a large portion of the crowd was using this game as a warm-up for tonight. There were scores of Eagles jerseys — perhaps even more than the Villanova equivalent — and the arena even organized a “Fly Eagles Fly” during the second half under-eight, which struck me as a bit strange. That said, it was still an energetic and great college hoops atmosphere.