EditorsNote: Edit 1: Corrected player name in final graf.
A 7-0 run late in the second half enabled No. 25 Villanova to hold off Seton Hall 74-72 Saturday night for the Big East Tournament championship at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Eric Paschall scored 17 points to lead four players in double figures for the top-seeded Wildcats (25-9), who earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Phil Booth and Saddiq Bey each added 16, while Jermaine Samuels netted 12 points.
Villanova led by as many as nine points with three minutes left, but had to sweat out a rally that saw the Pirates have two chances to tie or win.
Myles Powell’s 3-pointer from about 27 feet out on the right wing was on line but banged off the back iron with about five seconds left. Booth grabbed the long rebound but was called for walking with 0.2 seconds left. Game officials caucused and reset the clock to 0.4 seconds.
Seton Hall tried a lob pass to the bucket, but it caromed off the backboard and bounced near midcourt before it was touched, ending the game.
Powell, who led all scorers with 25 points, put back his own missed shot with 15.5 seconds left to pull Seton Hall within 73-72. Paschall made 1 of 2 free throws with 13.7 seconds remaining for a two-point edge, setting the stage for the dramatic conclusion.
Anthony Nelson added 12 points and Myles Cale tallied 10 for the third-seeded Pirates (20-13), who should receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney on Sunday.
The first half was a low-scoring grinder, with each team playing its third game in as many days.
Villanova made the first run, a 12-2 burst that ended with a Paschall pullup jumper with 13:26 left in the half to make it 12-7. Bey converted a layup with 5:52 remaining in the half for a 25-18 advantage, but Seton Hall made its first big push right after that.
Cale started an 8-0 spurt with two free throws and ended it with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:31 on the clock, giving the Pirates a 26-25 edge.
The Wildcats responded, with Dhamir Cosby-Rountree sticking back Paschall’s missed layup just before time expired to give them a 28-26 lead at intermission.
—Field Level Media