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Villanova exacts revenge, torches Seton Hall 80-54 amid Gibbs cheap shot

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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

With revenge surely on their minds, No. 6 Villanova ran Seton Hall out of the Pavilion on Monday night in an 80-54 rout.

Darrun Hilliard (18 pts) followed up on his 31-point outing against Butler while all five Wildcat starters finished in double figures including 11 points and 12 rebounds from center Daniel Ochefu. Isaiah Whitehead (15 pts) led Seton Hall in the scoring column as Angel Delgado (10 pts, 7 rebs) was effective on the offensive glass early. Sterling Gibbs (12 pts) was ejected late in the game after picking up a flagrant two for a cheap shot on Ryan Arcidiacono (edit: another angle portrays Gibbs in a less-guilty light but he owned up to it post-game). Seton Hall was playing without starting power forward Brandon Mobley, who hyperextended his knee late in the game against Providence and is likely to return against St. John's on Saturday.

"Everyone on the outside is pointing fingers and pointing fingers, it's ridiculous," remarked Kevin Willard post-game on AM 970. "It's as simple as we're a talented young basketball team that is going through the wringer of the Big East schedule and we're getting a little bit frustrated and we're getting a little down."

The first 20 minutes were filled with runs that Villanova got the better of. After a quick 10-3 Wildcats start fueled by early Sterling Gibbs and Isaiah Whitehead turnovers, the latter Pirate was instrumental in creating a 9-0 Seton Hall run that brought the game to a dead heat at 14-13. Whitehead found Angel Delgado for a mid-range jumper off a penetrating spin move and also drew a defender and then found Gibbs for a corner three-ball, but the offensive synchronicity was short-lived.

Whitehead was moved to the bench temporarily after fouling Darrun Hilliard on a three-point attempt which prompted Seton Hall's first four-plus minute field goal drought of the half and with it a 12-0 Villanova run. After a Whitehead triple just prior to the under-four media timeout, Seton Hall would again fail to score on a stout Wildcat defense.

The Hall shot much better from the field after the break including an early flurry of NBA range (and then some) three-pointers from Isaiah Whitehead and Sterling Gibbs. Following a converted three-point play by Gibbs that cut the visitors' deficit to ten at 46-36, but that's the closest they would come.

Villanova responded with a 20-5 run that included Seton Hall's third four-plus minute field goal drought of the game which proved to be the fatal one.

"Once [Kris] Jenkins made that second three in the corner, you could see us get deflated," Willard said of the run. "That's where we have to learn to grow up and that's not happening overnight in this league."

Things turned from bad to much much worse after Sterling Gibbs at first glance looked to have intentionally elbowed Ryan Arcidiacono in the head during a scramble for a loose ball with the game out of hand at 73-45. After taking multiple angles into consideration, I'm not sure if Gibbs will be suspended when considering Chris Obekpa's clearly intentional elbow against Butler did not warrant a suspension from the league.

Seton Hall (15-11, 5-9) has now lost five straight, eight of ten, and looks NIT-bound at best. Villanova's (24-2, 11-2) win is their seventh in a row and prevented a three-game win streak for the Hall in the all-time series. The Pirates have dropped 13 straight at the Pavilion since 1994.