Villanova, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - James Bell posted a game-high 20 points as No. 6 Villanova posted a 70-53 victory over Seton Hall on Friday, delivering head coach Jay Wright's 400th career win.
JayVaughn Pinkston chimed in with 19 points, while Daniel Ochefu added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats (21-2, 9-1 Big East), winners in five straight.
"It's very humbling, and I just feel very fortunate to coach at Villanova," Wright said of reaching 400 wins. "Whoever coaches at Villanova is going to get a lot of wins."
Sterling Gibbs led the way with 16 points for the Pirates (13-10, 4-6), who have dropped six of their last nine. Eugene Teague contributed 10 points and six boards to a losing effort.
Seton Hall opened up an 18-13 advantage on a Teague bucket just after the midway point of the first half, but Villanova embarked on a game-changing 21-8 surge to the intermission and never trailed thereafter.
Bell started the run with a bucket, then added a triple a short time later to pull the hosts within 20-19. Back-to-back shots from Ochefu put the Wildcats on top, 27-25, and Bell later hit another shot from beyond the arc around slams from Ochefu and Pinkston as Villanova led 34-26 at the break.
"We had a couple of bad shots that led to bad defense," Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard said when asked what went wrong with his team toward the end of the first half. "Bad offense led to bad defense and they capitalized on it."
The Wildcats' lead ballooned to 42-28 inside the first five minutes of the second half on Pinkston's jumper. It was a 15-point margin after a triple from Dylan Ennis just after the eight-minute mark made the score 51-36.
Patrick Auda's basket with 8:25 on the clock pulled the Pirates within 53-40, but that's as close as Villanova allowed.
Bell converted again from long range, Darrun Hilliard and Pinkston added consecutive baskets, and the Wildcats were up 60-40 with 5:48 to play. The lead grew as high as 21 in the late stages.
Seton Hall led 7-2 in the early going and upped that margin to 10-4 on Fuquan Edwin's shot from long distance.
Wright's record with Villanova stands at 278-146 after he racked up a 122-85 mark with Hofstra from 1994-2001 ... Wright has matched Rollie Massimino as the only head coaches in program history to record nine seasons of at least 20 wins ... Seton Hall has not won a road game against its long-time conference foes since Feb. 26, 1994.