NEWARK, N.J. – Justin Moore hit a go-ahead jumper with 1:36 to play and No. 22 Villanova posted a tough 73-67 victory over short-handed but gutsy No. 15 Seton Hall on Saturday.
Collin Gillespie scored 21 points, Brandon Slater added 17 and Moore had 13 for the Wildcats (9-4, 2-1 Big East). Jermaine Samuels added 11 points and 11 rebounds for Villanova, which dominated the boards 42-28 with Seton Hall missing two key big men because of COVID-19.
Backup guard Bryce Aiken had 22 points to lead Seton Hall, which has lost the last two games playing with only eight players because of COVID-19 issues. Jared Rhoden added 13 and Jamir Harris had 12, all on 3-points, for Pirates (9-3, 0-2).
Seton Hall had three players foul out with Myles Cale picking up his fifth foul and joining Alexis Yetna and Tray Jackson on the bench with less than a second to play. Yetna had 10 points and eight rebounds.
The final five minutes took almost 15 minutes to play with all the timeouts and the free throws.
Villanova’s play on the offensive glass was the key. Moore’s go-ahead shot gave the Wildcats a 62-61 lead and it came after Gillespie missed and 3-pointer and Bryan Antoine got the rebound. After a Pirates miss, Slater made two free throws for a 64-61 edge after another offensive rebound. Another Gillespie free throw pushed the lead to five points.
Seton Hall got within two points twice in the final 10 seconds but Villanova held on for its fourth straight win over the Pirates.
Villanova: The Wildcats have a talented roster and have all the components. They can shoot, rebound and play defense. It’s a typical Jay Wright team build for a post-season run. The four losses is not a good number but they included losses to No. 1 Baylor, No. 3 Purdue and No. 5 UCLA. They also were missing a key player with guard Caleb Daniels, who was averaging almost 10 points and 4 rebounds. He was on the COVID-19 list.
Seton Hall: The Pirates probably are going to fall out of the Top 25 after two straight losses. While it may seem unfair playing shorthanded, the only key player they are missing statistically is junior forward Tyrese Samuel. He is averaging 10.8 points and 6.9 rebounds. Center Ike Obiagu doesn’t contribute big numbers but he is a force in the of the defense.
Villanova: Returns home to play Creighton for the second time this season. The Bluejays won 79-59 on Dec. 17.
Seton Hall: At Butler on Tuesday.