TOP 25: No. 6 Villanova 70, Seton Hall 53
James Bell scored 20 points and JayVaughn Pinkston had 19 to lead host Villanova to its fifth straight victory, a double-digit win over Seton Hall on Friday night.
Villanova coach Jay Wright reached 400 career victories. He has won 278 games at Villanova (278-146; 2001-present) after going 122-85 at Hofstra (1994-2001). Wright has led his teams to 10 NCAA tournaments and took the Wildcats to the 2009 Final Four.
The Wildcats (21-2, 9-1 Big East) are perennial Big East contenders, and this season’s team is his best team since ‘09.
Wright and Rollie Massimino both have nine 20-win seasons at Villanova, though Massimino has the one win that really matters, the 1985 national championship over Georgetown.
Daniel Ochefu had 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, including the game-changing baskets in the first half.
It’s not a stretch to think these balanced Wildcats could make a deep run in March. When a player like Darrun Hilliard (13.7 points) is a non-factor offensively with just 10 points against the Pirates, a reserve like Dylan Ennis steps in and makes a 3 to stretch the lead to 51-36. Bell buried a 3 as the shot clock expired for a 56-40 lead, leaving just the finishing touches on Villanova’s 10th win in its last 11 games.
Seton Hall made only two baskets in the first 6 minutes of the second half.
The Pirates haven’t won a road game against Villanova since Feb. 26, 1994.
The Wildcats were coming off an 81-58 win over Xavier and have made a habit of thumping teams.