Villanova dodges comeback bid, holds off Seton Hall


Eric Dixon scored a game-high 19 points, Caleb Daniels supplied 18 and host Villanova pulled away from Seton Hall 58-54 Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Dixon and Daniels combined to score 24 of the Wildcats’ 27 first-half points and got more help in the second half when Seton Hall threatened to rally.

Cam Whitmore scored 12 points and Brandon Slater added all eight of his in the second half to help Villanova (12-13, 6-8 Big East) win its second in a row.

Al-Amir Dawes nailed a late 3-pointer that cut the Pirates’ deficit to 53-47. Seton Hall (15-11, 8-7) then made Villanova sweat by scoring seven points in the final 16 seconds, including two free throws off an ill-advised loose-ball foul and Jamir Harris’ 3-pointer, before eventually dropping its second straight game.

Tyrese Samuel had team highs of 14 points and 10 rebounds for Seton Hall. Dawes scored 13 points and Kadary Richmond went for 10 points, nine assists and five rebounds.

The teams combined to start the game 2-for-18 before Richmond’s steal and fast-break dunk. He had four quick points for a 7-3 lead, while Villanova went 7:29 between baskets.

Dixon made three straight shots in the paint and strung together a personal 8-0 run that flipped a four-point deficit into a Villanova lead. Daniels nailed a corner 3-pointer to make it 11 straight for the Wildcats, who went on to make seven shots in a row to grow the lead as large as 27-16.

Dawes made a corner jumper to beat the buzzer, but the Wildcats still led 27-20 at the half, with Dixon at 13 points and Daniels at 11 with three 3-pointers. The Pirates stayed alive with 11 second-chance points off six offensive rebounds.

Villanova led by as many as 13 before Seton Hall started to author a comeback with a 13-1 stretch.

Dawes committed his fourth foul to save a Villanova breakaway, which led to just one made free throw. He made up for it on the other end by converting an up-and-under layup and foul shot to cut the deficit to 38-37 with 9:31 to play.

But the Wildcats responded with the next nine points, benefitting from three Seton Hall turnovers in that time. Whitmore’s open dunk energized the building, and he added a three-point play at 6:56 to make it a 10-point game once more.

Daniels surpassed 1,000 career points at Villanova with his first 3-pointer of the second half. He finished 4-of-7 from 3-point land.

–Field Level Media

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