Feb. 24, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Fresh from its victory Saturday night over No. 17 Marquette, Villanova travels north to Newark, N.J., to face Seton Hall on Monday night. The contest will be telecast nationally on ESPNU (9:00 p.m.) and also be carried on Sportsradio 610 WIP.
Villanova has leaned on its defense in reeling off three consecutive victories. The Wildcats have surrendered an average of 60 points per game in that stretch and have limited the damage done from outside the 3-point arc. Foes are just 11-of-36 (.306) from distance in this span, though the Wildcats still rank 13th in the BIG EAST in 3-point percentage defense (.352).
Darrun Hilliard set the scoring pace for Villanova Saturday night with 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. His coach, though, was just as impressed with Hilliard's work at the other end of the court against Marquette's standout backcourt.
"Darrun has been outstanding defensively guarding a lot of guards... same with Ryan Arch and Tony Chennault," stated Wildcats head coach Jay Wright. "(Marquette's) guards are really, really good. Darrun was guarding Vander Blue and did an amazing job on him. I know he had 22 points and we probably don't win the game without him, but you're not in a game like that unless you're defending like he's defending."
The Pirates (13-15 overall, 2-13 BIG EAST) dropped a 79-61 decision at Louisville on Saturday. The Hall, which has dealt with a series of significant injuries in 2012-13, is led by junior Fuquan Edwin (16.9 ppg) and guard Aaron Cosby (12.1 ppg). The Pirates rank third among BIG EAST teams in 3-point field goal accuracy (.356).
"We like to say that the next game is a big game because we're in it," states Wright. "We try not to focus on how people on the outside label a game. We know we have to go up there and play well. Seton Hall has been in every game and we have to prepare for another tough Big East road battle."
The Wildcats will then have a break until Sunday afternoon when they pay their final BIG EAST regular season visit to the University of Pittsburgh (Noon/PHL 17). Then Villanova will return to the Wells Fargo Center on March 6 for the regular season finale against Georgetown.