For the third time this season the Villanova Wildcats beat a team ranked in the top five in the country when they upset the fifth-ranked Georgetown Hoyas, 67-57 on Wednesday night, March 6th at the Wells Fargo Center. JayVaughn Pinkston led the way for Villanova with 20 points. Pinkston was ably aided and abetted by Darrun Hilliard, who overcame early foul trouble, to chip in 14 points, Ryan Arcidiacono who added 11 (to go along with a team high 6 assists), and James Bell with 10 points, including two big three pointers in the opening half. With the victory, Villanova snapped Georgetown’s eleven game winning streak. Georgetown had not lost a game before last night since January 19th.
Georgetown bolted out to a quick 7-0 start to open the game. Villanova then went on a 10-2 run highlighted by Bell’s three-pointer to take a 10-9 lead. The Hoyas briefly regained the lead, only to have Bell connect on another three pointer to put the Wildcats back out in front 13-11. The Wildcats built their margin to 23-14, but saw the Hoyas rally to tie the game twice on buckets by D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Mouphtaou Yarou hit a basket to give the Wildcats the lead once again 29-27. Villanova went to the locker room leading 33-29.
In the second half, Villanova used a tenacious defense and strong shooting from the foul line to keep the lead throughout. Several times, the Hoyas cut Villanova’s lead to a single point, the last at the 11:04 mark, on a basket by Otto Porter, Jr., 44-43. However, Porter, Georgetown’s leading scorer with 17 points, who was fouled scoring the basket, missed his free throw allowing Villanova to stay in the lead. From that point forward, Villanova clung to its lead mainly by converting its free throws and playing gritty defense. The Wildcats scored 20 of their last 23 points from the charity stripe. The lone basket being a three-pointer by Hilliard, that gave Villanova a 54-48 edge. Overall, Villanova converted 30 of 42 free throw attempts (.714%), compared to Georgetown’s hitting on 4 of 8 attempts from the free throw line. Both teams collected 24 rebounds. Yarou finished with a game high 12 boards. Nate Lubick grabbed 8 rebounds for the Hoyas. Smith-Rivera with 14 points, and Martel Starks with 12 points joined Porter, Jr. in double figure scoring for Georgetown.
With the impressive win, Villanova closed out its regular season with a record of 19-12 on the year, 10-8 in the Big East. All three of Villanova’s wins over top-five opponents came at the Wells-Fargo Center. The previous wins were against No. 5 Louisville (January 22) and No. 3 Syracuse (January 26). Villanova next plays in the Big East Tournament in New York City at Madison Square Garden (March 12-16). Georgetown, with the loss fell to 23-5 overall, 13-4 Big East. The Hoyas conclude their regular season at home on March 9 against Syracuse.
[Photos by Christian Hafer]
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