Photo Credit: Vinnie Lucia

Pirates left heart broken on senior night

The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Seton Hall Pirates 76-72 in front of a sold out Prudential Center crowd Tuesday Night. Al-Amir Dawes hit one of the Pirates' seven first half three-point field goals, sending Seton Hall into the locker room with a 37-34 lead. A back and forth second half, resulting in Villanova going 22-23 from the foul line, would ultimately sink the Pirates and leave Seton Hall's seniors heartbroken in their last game at the Prudential Center.

With Kadary Richmond sidelined, multiple Pirate players stepped up in a big way. Seton Hall as a team shot 45% from the field and 44% from behind the three-point arch. The Pirates had multiple double digit scorers, led by Al-Amir Dawes with 21 points. Pittsburgh transfer Femi Odukale had a breakout game for the Pirates ,with fourteen points and ten rebounds. The Pirates also had major offensive contributions from Dre Davis, who scored nine points off of the bench and senior Tyrese Samuel, who poured in fourteen points with five rebounds.

In what was a classic Big East game, no team led by more than six points. The Pirates, who hit seven first half three-point field goals, only converted one more time from behind the three-point arch in the second half. Seton Hall was able to out rebound, assist and commit one less turnover than the Wildcats.  All of these statistics would lead you to believe the Pirates would emerge victorious. One big statistic would ultimately sink the Pirates, foul shooting.

The Villanova Wildcats shot over 95% from the foul line, making 22-23 free throws. The final minute of the game and majority of the second half resulted in a foul shooting contest. The Pirates went to the bonus with twelve minutes remaining in the second half and Villanova would shortly follow. The Pirates went 14-18 from the foul line, which is good for nearly 78%. The percentage from the foul line ultimately decided the fate for Seton Hall.

The loss for the Pirates now puts them cemented into seventh place in the Big East. Seton Hall has one regular season game remaining, but will be playing DePaul in the 7/10 opening Wednesday night 5:30 pm Big East Tournament matchup at Madison Square Garden. The Pirates will likely need to win another game this season if they want to play in the NIT.

For the Pirates seniors, we know that we have seen Jamir Harris and KC Ndefo’s final game at the Prudential Center. Tyrese Samuel and Tray Jackson were honored on senior night, but have eligibility remaining. Seton Hall head coach Shaheen Holloway when asked about Samuel’s remaining eligibility said, “ I would love to have him back, hopefully the improvement he has made this season will convince him to be a part of the program next season.”

Samuel has been a catalyst in the Pirates front court all season, averaging a career high 11 points per game with nearly six rebounds. Recruiting Samuel to return to South Orange for one final season will be crucial for the Pirates to reach the NCAA tournament next season.

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