NEWARK, N.J. — For nearly the last five years, there's been something that Jay Wright's Villanova Wildcats could be counted on following a loss — to keep it at just one loss.
So on the heels of a stunning upset loss to Creighton on Saturday, the Wildcats responded in the only way they know how.
Despite blowing an 11-point second-half lead, struggling offensively all night and needing an extra five minutes of playing time, No. 4 Villanova got by Seton Hall, 69-68, on Wednesday at the Prudential Center.
Plagued by shooting woes all night, Villanova (26-4, 13-4) grabbed a five-point lead under two minutes into the overtime period and held off the Pirates the rest of the way. Mikal Bridges, who scored a team-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Jalen Brunson, who added 12 points, came up large for the Wildcats in overtime with 11 of their 17 points.
Khadeen Carrington led the Pirates (20-10, 9-8) with 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Wright's Wildcats still haven't dropped consecutive games since March 3, 2013, when they lost to Pitt on the road following a loss to Seton Hall.
• Ugly would be a generous way to describe both teams' first-half performances on the offensive end. Seton Hall shot at a 20.7 percent clip from the field (6 for 29, while connecting on just 1 of 12 attempts from deep). But Villanova could only build a lead as large as six in the first half because of its own offensive woes. The Wildcats, who entered the break leading 24-18, shot 32.3 percent from the field and hit on just three of their 15 threes.
• The first-half struggles for both sides carried into the early stages of the second half but, with the help of a pair of bad fouls by Seton Hall on three-point shot attempts, Villanova stretched its lead out to a game-high 11 at 36-25 with 12-plus minutes left and appeared on its way to an easy win ...
• ... but Myles Powell had other plans. The Pirates' guard single-handedly ignited their offense with a personal 8-0 run, which was the start of a 14-2 Seton Hall burst. That run gave the Pirates their first lead, 39-38, since the 12:07 mark of the first half. Villanova responded with a quick 6-0 run, but Seton Hall refused to go away and would regain the lead with under three to play.
• Facing a 49-48 deficit with 46 seconds remaining, the Wildcats got clutch buckets from Brunson and Bridges to go ahead, 52-49. A pair of free throws from Carrington cut it to one and, following a missed free throw from Brunson, a Carrington split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 52-52. Donte DiVincenzo's triple at the buzzer was off the mark, as the teams headed to overtime.
• Even as Villanova held a seven-point lead with 25 seconds left in OT, Seton Hall kept fighting back. Following an Eron Gordon triple, Villanova threw the ball away on the inbound pass and Powell scored off the turnover. After Omari Spellman split a pair of free throws, Carrington answered with a dunk to cut it 67-66.
With the Pirates forced to foul, Brunson knocked down both free throws with six seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, Villanova fouled Carrington with one second left before he could get a three-point attempt off. Carrington made the first but banked home the second, preventing the Pirates from having a shot at tipping in the tying bucket.
• Bridges was the only player that had anything going on either side in the first half, scoring nine of the first 11 points for the Wildcats, including their first seven. Bridges faded some after the hot start, but he came on late in regulation and OT.
• Earlier Wednesday, Brunson was named one of the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith College Player of the Year award. While he had a rare off night overall (just 14 points on 6 of 15 shooting and zero assists), he hit big buckets late in the second half and in OT, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the final eight-plus minutes of the game.
• Seton Hall was without freshman guard Jordan Walker (thumb) and leading scorer Desi Rodriguez, who missed his second straight game with a left ankle injury. Carrington had a heroic performance in 44 minutes of action, but Rodriguez was certainly missed by the Pirates. Their next three top offensive threats — Carrington, Powell and Angel Delgado — combined for 43 points on 14 for 45 shooting from the field.
• The Wildcats will close out their regular season on Saturday in a matchup with Georgetown at the Wells Fargo Center. Then, it will be on to Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament. With No. 3 Xavier beating Providence on Wednesday, the Wildcats remain a game out from the top seed in the conference tournament. Xavier closes its regular season at DePaul on Saturday.