No. 18 Villanova beats Seton Hall 89-85 in OT

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP)—Villanova had the choice of fawning over its offensive star or defensive stopper after an 89-85 overtime victory over Seton Hall on Tuesday night.

Scottie Reynolds was the obvious pick at one of the end of the court for the 18th-ranked Wildcats as he matched his career high with 40 points, going 5-of-8 from 3-point range and 15-of-16 from the free throw line.

On defense, it was Reggie Redding, who put the clamps on Jeremy Hazell of the Pirates after he scored 23 points in the game’s opening 24 1/2 minutes, holding him to a bank shot from about 26 feet that tied the game at 76 with 9.2 seconds left in regulation.

“Things happen. He got off a pretty good shot,” Villanova’s Dante Cunningham said. “Hey, it only tied it, it didn’t win it. We won it.”

The Wildcats (13-3, 1-1 Big East) won it by making their last 18 free throws as Reynolds and Redding starred at opposite ends of the Prudential Center court.

“To be honest, I had no idea he had 40 or was even close to 40, but when you’re in a close game, he’s the kind of kid that you want with the ball in his hands,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said of Reynolds. “He carried the offense for a great portion of the second half. We needed that.”

Then he talked about Redding.

“Reggie did a great job on Hazell in the second half. He worked his butt off,” Wright said. “You can’t let that kid get going, because once he does get going, you’re in trouble. Reggie did a great job of limiting his touches in the second half. I don’t think we took him out of the game in the second half. He had to stay out there.”

Reynolds made two free throws with 21 seconds left in regulation to give the Wildcats a 76-73 lead only to see Hazell make his sixth 3 of the game. Reynolds missed a driving shot as time expired.

“We battled them and took them to the wire,” Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez said. “We could have won and stole this one, but we didn’t. Still, I’m proud of their effort. You can get concerned and caught up with blowout losses, so I knew it was important to play great tonight and I thought we did. I don’t believe in moral victories, so it’s tough to come up short.”

Cunningham gave Villanova the lead for good at 85-83 with two free throws with 58 seconds left. Reynolds, who had 40 points as a freshman against Connecticut, then sandwiched four free throws around two by Eugene Harvey of the Pirates (9-6, 0-3) for the final margin.

Cunningham had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Wildcats, who have won five of six and finished 24-for-30 from the free throw line.

Redding broke into a big smile when he was asked about Reynolds’ offensive effort.

“He had that look in his eye,” he said.

Hazell had 26 points for Seton Hall, which has lost three straight and five of six.

Seton Hall opened the second half on a 6-2 run to go up 43-37. Reynolds, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, then accounted for Villanova’s next 15 points, scoring 13 and getting an assist as the Wildcats took a 52-51 lead on his three-point play with 11:52 to go.

Villanova, one of a record nine Big East teams ranked in the AP poll, went ahead 74-66 with 3:09 left on a layup by Antonio Pena.

Harvey, who had 19 points and nine assists, had five points and an assist in the Pirates’ 7-0 run that got them within 74-73 with 48 seconds to go.

Seton Hall was able to slow down Reynolds in the second half for a while on a fine defensive job by freshman Jordan Theodore, who had nine points.

“I thought Jordan grew up a little bit tonight,” Gonzalez said. “The first two Big East games he was kind of a deer in the headlights.

Reynolds was one of several Wildcats who described the game as just another Big East matchup.

“It all came down to who was mentally tougher at the end like all Big East games do and we did it tonight,” he said. “This just shows how good the league is from top to bottom. Being ranked doesn’t mean anything in league play. You still have to grind it out.”

Dwayne Anderson had nine points and 15 rebounds for Villanova, which finished with a 49-43 rebound advantage.

John Garcia, playing in his second game since missing four in a row with a knee injury, had six points and 12 rebounds for Seton Hall, which missed just one of 14 free throws.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
Scottie Reynolds Scottie Reynolds
10-17,  40 Pts
4 Rebs, 3 Assists
 Seton Hall
Eugene Harvey Eugene Harvey
6-16,  19 Pts
1 Rebs, 9 Assists

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Tuesday, Jan 6