The Seton Hall Pirates were back in action yesterday in the Big East Final against the Villanova Wildcats. The Pirates were looking for their first championship in 23 years! A win would give them an automatic birth in the NCAA tournament. The Pirates would prevail over the top seeded Wildcats 69-67.
The two teams started off fairly even in the first few minutes. The Pirates would build a 6 point lead after an Ismael Sanogo layup. However, Villanova would come back and cut the lead to 1 a few minutes later on a Kris Jenkins three pointer. The Pirates would respond by having a great stretch of play to increase the lead. With 5:14 to go in the first half, a Derrick Gordon three pointer put the Pirates up by 11. With 3:35 to go, Isaiah Whitehead would hit a three pointer and the Pirates would lead by 14. Ultimately the Pirates would go into halftime with a 40-29 lead over the Wildcats.
Villanova was led by Josh Hart who had 9 points in the first half. Kris Jenkins added 7 points and 2 rebounds. Darryl Reynolds chipped in 6 points and 3 rebounds. The Wildcats shot 44.4% from the field and 22.2% from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Pirates were led by Isaiah Whitehead who had 12 points and 2 assists in the first half. Desi Rodriguez chipped in 8 points in the first half. Ismael Sanogo added 6 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Seton Hall shot 56.7% from the field and 41.7% from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Wildcats and Pirates came out to a stalemate to start the second half. That did not last long though because Villanova made a charge. With 12:23 to go in the first half, Mikal Bridges hit a layup to cut the lead to 1. The Wildcats would tie the game up with 9:21 remaining on a Kris Jenkins three pointer. The Pirates would respond and after an Angel Delgado free throw they had a 5 point lead. The teams went back and forth for the next few minutes. With 52 seconds remaining, Kris Jenkins would hit a three pointer to give the Wildcats a 3 point lead. Isaiah Whitehead would then go to the line and hit 1 of 2 free throws to cut the lead to 2. The Pirates would then force Josh Hart into a 5 second violation and get the ball back. With 18 seconds remaining, Whitehead would drive to the basket and get the hoop and the harm to give the Pirates a 1 point lead. The Wildcats had one last chance and would miss multiple opportunities. The Pirates ultimately came away with the Big East Tournament Championship by a score of 69-67.
The Wildcats were led by Kris Jenkins who had 23 points and 5 rebounds. Josh Hart added 17 points and 5 rebounds. Daniel Ochefu chipped in 5 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Mikal Bridges added 8 points and 6 rebounds. Villanova shot 42.1% from the field and 34.8% from beyond the arc.
Seton Hall was led by Isaiah Whitehead who had 26 points and 3 assists. Desi Rodriguez added 12 points and 4 steals. Ismael Sanogo grabbed 9 rebounds and Angel Delgado grabbed 7. Derrick Gordon chipped in 10 points. The Pirates shot 49.1% from the field and 31.6% from beyond the arc. Isaiah Whitehead was named tournament MVP. Ismael Sanogo and Khadeen Carrington made the all-tournament team.
The Pirates capture their first Big East title in 23 years! Both the Pirates and the Wildcats will now look forward to their seeding in the NCAA tournament today. Check out the PPI to see which players excelled. We will have full coverage as Seton Hall goes through the NCAA tournament. Until then, Hazard Zet Forward.