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.

PPI vs Villanova Big East Tournament


Pirates Fall in Philly

Photo Provided Courtesy Of Madeline Wilson

The Seton Hall Pirates were back in action on Wednesday as they traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Wildcats of Villanova. We were lucky enough to talk to Larry Flynn who is a junior at Villanova and writes for their newspaper, The Villanovan. He was kind enough to give us some insight on the Wildcats and offered his thoughts on the game. You can read the preview in our previous post. You can follow Larry on twitter @LFlynn_NBANOVA. Though the Pirates fought hard throughout this game, the Wildcats came away with the win 72-63.

The first half was a very defensive affair. The Pirates and Wildcats were both off on the offensive end. The game was very close until Kris Jenkins hit a three pointer with 6:38 left in the first half. From there the Wildcats would increase their lead to as much as 11 in the first half. Kris Jenkins was the player that Larry Flynn told us to watch for in this one. Overall, both teams were sloppy on the offensive end in the first half. The two teams combined to commit 16 turnovers in the first half. At the end of the first half the Wildcats were on top 30-23. The 23 points were the lowest first half score of the season for the Pirates.

The Wildcats were led by Daniel Ochefu with 9 points and 8 rebounds. Kris Jenkins added 6 points and Josh Hart added 5 rebounds. The Pirates were led by Derrick Gordon with 4 points and 3 rebounds as well as 2 assists. Isaiah Whitehead chipped in 5 points in the half for the Hall.

The second half was when both teams finally got going offensively. The Wildcats came out hot and scored the first 6 points of the half to push the lead to 13. Daniel Ochefu, Josh Hart, and Ryan Arcidiacono each had a bucket in that early spurt. The headline of the second half was so close, yet so far away. The Pirates cut the lead down on numerous occasions but would never take the lead in the second half. The best chance came around the 11:45 mark of the second half. A three pointer from Veer Singh brought the Pirates to within 2 points. Villanova responded and increased the lead to 7 before the Pirates would cut it to 3. Isaiah Whitehead and Khadeen Carrington were the catalysts.

The inside play of Daniel Ochefu proved to be too much for the Pirates. Down the stretch the Wildcats would open up the lead to as much as 15, ultimately winning by a 9 point margin. Daniel Ochefu was a big mismatch for Angel Delgado all night long. The Pirates gave up many second chance points and it came back to bite them. The Wildcats came out of this one with a 72-63 win over the Pirates.

Daniel Ochefu led the Wildcats in the win tonight. The senior had a huge game with 20 points and 18 rebounds. Josh Hart had a great game as well with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Larry Flynn told us that Hart was the most complete player on this Villanova team. Kris Jenkins posted 11 points and 6 boards. Ryan Arcidiacono chipped in 11 points for the Wildcats.

The Pirates were led by Derrick Gordon who played his most complete game of the season. The transfer from UMASS posted 8 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. Isaiah Whitehead would score 20 in a losing effort for the Pirates. Khadeen Carrington added 14 points and 4 rebounds. Angel Delgado chipped in 6 boards, his double double streak is over after tonight.

With the victory the Wildcats improve to 13-2 on the season and 3-0 in Big East play. The Wildcats now sit alone atop the conference. With the defeat the Pirates drop to 12-3 on the season and 2-1 in Big East play. The Wildcats will head to Indianapolis on Sunday to take on the Butler Bulldogs. The Pirates will head home to take on Creighton on Saturday at the Prudential Center.

We would like to give a big thank you to Larry Flynn for his insight on Villanova basketball. He is a great journalist and is well worth a follow on twitter. Go and check out his stuff! Check out the PPI below to see which players excelled in this loss to Villanova.

We will have a full recap and coverage of the game on Saturday against Creighton. Until then, Hazard Zet Forward.

PPI vs Villanova

Inside the Enemy Ship: Villanova Wildcats

Georgetown vs Villanova

Welcome the latest edition of “Inside the Enemy Ship”! Later today, the Seton Hall Pirates will be at the Pavilion taking on the Villanova Wildcats. With several notable games being played between these two teams in the past few seasons, this date has been circled on the calendar of countless Seton Hall fans since it was first announced. For this edition, we had the pleasure of talking to Larry Flynn, a Junior at Villanova who writes for their newspaper, The Villanovan.

BBA: When the season started, where did you see the Wildcats’ season going?
FLYNN: The Wildcats lost some veteran leadership in the departures of seniors Darrun Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinkston, and I expected it to show early. Although Villanova added the talent of Jalen Brunson and would see role players like Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins step into starting jobs, I thought they would endure some growing pains early. Then, against either Oklahoma or Virginia, I thought the Wildcats would finally reassert their dominance as an elite team in the NCAA and secure a critical win against a top-10 team. Then, they would find their stride entering conference play and once against dominate the Big East. As you can see, I was both right and wrong depending on the topic. I also thought this team was set to improve defensively. Several players told me before the season that their training camp was focused on the defensive end. They did, however, recognize that it would be harder to rebound the ball, something which has been an ongoing issue for the Wildcats and could hurt them against the tenacious rebounding of Seton Hall.

BBA: What do you think of the teams (as of writing) 12-2 record
FLYNN: Villanova may have, uncharacteristically, a “2” in the loss column following non-conference play, but this team is comfortable where it is right now. The Wildcats received a much-needed wake-up call courtesy of Oklahoma, and lost a close game on the road against a top-3 ACC team. Instead of coasting through non-conference games like they did last season, Villanova is finally battle-tested heading into conference play. That being said, the Wildcats have only won one significant game against an elite team. And this one game has an asterisk, in some people’s minds. Last week, #6 ranked Xavier traveled to the Pavilion looking to take away the Big East Champions crown but, instead, watched Edmond Sumner leave the game on a stretcher.

BBA: Beside St. Joseph’s University, who would you consider Nova’s biggest rival?
FLYNN: Although St. Joe’s has the geographic rivalry, Villanova’s biggest rival will always be the Georgetown Hoyas. It’s an interesting rivalry, dating back to 1985 when the Wildcats played “The Perfect Game” and, led by Ed Pickney, shocked the world with an upset win over Patrick Ewing and the Hoyas. Today, the rivalry is interesting; instead of true hate for each other’s programs (like Red Sox-Yankees in baseball), the Wildcats and Hoyas have a mutual understanding that they need one another to perform at a high level for the conference to emerge successful as a whole.

BBA: If #6 Xavier didn’t lose Edmond Sumner early in the game, do you the outcome would have still been the same?
FLYNN:Yes. There is no way that Xavier, or any team, could’ve beaten Villanova that night. Check out these shooting splits for the Wildcats:
FG%: 63%
3FG%: 52%
FT %: 91%
Some would say that Sumner would’ve been able to quiet Villanova’s 19-5 run, but I’m not so sure. In the first two possessions of the game, the Wildcats attacked the rim with a layup for Ryan Arcidiacono and a post touch and finish from Daniel Ochefu. When the Wildcats attack the rim early instead of settling for three-pointers, it is very hard to stop Villanova. That being said, Sumner would have made the game closer. The Musketeers committed an uncharacteristic 19 turnovers and some of this damage would have certainly been diminished if their primary playmaker were healthy.

BBA: Does the Big East Conference belong to Villanova?
FLYNN: Before the Xavier game, everyone was ready to crown the Musketeers the “top dog” in the Big East. But, as I kept saying, the Big East is Villanova’s to lose. There has to be another team which is able to both consistently beat Villanova and beat the rest of their Big East opponents in order to say the conference isn’t in the hands of the Wildcats. Creighton was the closest to “dethrone” Villanova two years ago by beating them twice during conference play. Since then, no other team has swept the season series during conference play. Although, yes, Seton Hall and especially your old friend Sterling Gibbs has given Villanova consistent trouble the last few years.

BBA: Which player should the Seton Hall Pirates be the most worried about meeting on the court? Why?
FLYNN: I’m going to go out on a limb and say Kris Jenkins. Sure, Daniel Ochefu has the size, but so does Angel Delgado. Yes, Josh Hart has the most complete offensive game, but he’ll go toe-to-toe with Isaiah Whitehead. But for Seton Hall defenders who can be a bit jumpy at times, the lethal pumpfake of Kris Jenkins is going to give Kevin Willard nightmares. The Pirates will need to stay disciplined defensively, especially when the Wildcats swing the ball to the weak side where Jenkins thrives on moving to the open space and making defenders pay.

BBA: Do Nova fans consider their games against Seton Hall anything special?
FLYNN: Most Villanova fans I’ve spoken with do not consider Seton Hall games a “rivalry game,” except for their obvious connection as fellow Big East opponent. These two teams, however, have an interesting relationship in their geographic proximity; a majority of students at Villanova are either from New Jersey or eastern Pennsylvania. Therefore, these winter-break matchups between the Pirates and the Wildcats are a terrific way to bring these two fan bases together. Expect to see some Seton Hall fans at the Pavilion Wednesday night.

BBA: How far do you now expect Nova to go into the NCAA Tournament?
FLYNN: “They may have floundered in the NCAA Tournament the past two years, but much of the Villanova faithful are confident that this team has a higher ceiling than in years past. The playmaking of Jalen Brunson, the length of Mikal Bridges, and the post game of Daniel Ochefu are all key ingredients which, fans hope, can propel the Wildcats back into the Final Four. It all comes down to consistency for the Wildcats. Which team will show up the first weekend in March, the sloppy, emotionless one we saw against Oklahoma or the dominant, assertive team that annihilated Xavier? If the Wildcats attack the basket, lock down the perimeter, and remain focused on the glass for 40 minutes, I could see this team making it to the Elite Eight. Realistically, a Sweet Sixteen birth sounds appropriate.

BBA: Final Score Prediction?
FLYNN: Villanova wins, 80-68

Larry Flynn is a junior English major at Villanova University. Follow him on Twitter @LFlynn_NBANOVA. Be sure to watch the game on FS1 at 7 PM tonight. As always, Hazard Zet Forward.

Pirates Set To Host Wildcats

The Seton Hall Pirates will be in action this weekend for a 3 game series with the Wildcats of Villanova University. The Wildcats come in with a 12-25 overall record, and a 3-6 record in BIG EAST play. The Pirates come in with a 28-9 overall record, and a 3-3 BIG EAST record. The pitching matchups are as followed. Game 1 on Friday will see RHP Josh Prevost (8-1, 1.66 ERA) for the Pirates squaring off against LHP Josh Harris (3-5, 5.96 ERA) for Villanova. Game 2 will see LHP Anthony Elia (3-3, 2.76 ERA) for Seton Hall against RHP Max Almonte (1-4, 5.16 ERA) for the Wildcats. The final game will be RHP Luke Cahill (7-1, 2.56 ERA) for the Pirates against LHP Hunter Schryver (1-5, 4.02 ERA) for the Wildcats. For the Pirates, SS D.J. Ruhlman has been leading the way so far this season. Ruhlman leads the team in batting average (.386) and is tied with first baseman Sal Annunziata in hits (44). Annunziata leads the Pirates in doubles (14), RBI’s (32), and total bases (67). Tyler Boyd leads the team in homeruns with 4, and Zack Weigel leads the team in runs with 34.

We hope you come out this weekend and support the Pirates in this huge BIG EAST matchup. First pitch is at 3:00 at Owen T. Carroll Field. We will have a full recap of Friday’s game when it goes final. Until then, Hazard Zet Forward.