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11:30 AM PT12:30 PM MT1:30 PM CT2:30 PM ET7:30 PM GMT3:30 PM 北京时间12:30 PM MST2:30 PM EST, Jan 27, 2019
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 16,444

Seton Hall out to stop long losing streak at No. 18 Villanova

It's not quite as long as Clemson's 59-game losing streak at North Carolina, but Seton Hall's 16-game losing skid at Villanova that dates back 25 seasons is nearly as puzzling.

The Pirates usually have been competitive, occasionally good and, every once in a while, good enough to win conference titles. Yet no matter which type of team they take to Philadelphia, they usually leave with an L.

Seton Hall will take another crack at ending a quarter-century of frustration Sunday against the No. 18 Wildcats when they visit Wells Fargo Center for a game it, quite frankly, needs to win.

At 12-7 overall and 3-4 in the Big East Conference, the Pirates have canceled out strong December wins over Kentucky, Maryland and St. John's by dropping four of their last five games. They have been off since experiencing a 97-93 defeat to DePaul on Jan. 19 in Newark, N.J.

This is their fifth road game in the last seven, which doesn't sit well with coach Kevin Willard. He called conference scheduling "absurd" prior to the DePaul loss, saying it put his team at a competitive disadvantage. At that point, Seton Hall had played two more conference games than anyone else, and had played as many road games in the conference (four) as Providence had played period.

"Why is everyone else even and we're not? It's been difficult because of all these games in a short period of time. There's just no reason to have that," he told the Asbury Park Press.

If nothing else, the Pirates will be well-rested for their meeting with the conference leaders. Then again, they aren't exactly catching Villanova (15-4, 6-0) at the right time. The Wildcats have won seven straight since mid-December losses to Penn and Kansas, and they appear to be that rare defending national champion actually traveling under the radar.

In an 80-72 triumph at Butler Tuesday night, Villanova got a combined 40 points from its two most experienced players -- Phil Booth and Eric Paschall. It also got key contributions from a young supporting cast that is learning the college game.

Sophomores Collin Gillespie and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree finished with 11 and 10, respectively, and freshman Saddiq Bey (10 points, seven rebounds) also made a big impact.

"They're learning how to play off Phil Booth and Eric Paschall," Willard said of the Wildcats' fresh faces. "They're really complementing those two guys. They're not getting in the way. They kind of understand what their role is and to make sure they're in the right position."

Booth and Paschall are averaging 18.4 and 16.9 points per game, respectively, to pace Villanova. Gillespie is its other double-figure scorer at 11.3 and also leads the team in free throw shooting -- a long-time strength of the program -- at 85.5 percent.

Seton Hall's attack revolves mostly around 6-2 junior guard Myles Powell, who is second in the conference in scoring at 22.2 ppg. But Powell's efficiency has dropped off a bit recently, as he's made just 19 of 50 shots in his last three games.

Still, Wildcats coach Jay Wright is expecting the Pirates' best shot.

"Their physicality and toughness have been a challenge for us," he said. "Seton Hall is always a difficult opponent for us."

--Field Level Media

Updated January 26, 2019

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