The first time the Villanova Wildcats and Georgetown Hoyas faced off this season (January 19), Georgetown (at that time ranked outside the Top 25) destroyed Villanova by 20 points to take control of the Big East and hand the Wildcats their second loss of the season.
On Saturday afternoon (February 7) before a capacity crowd at the Wells Fargo Center, the much anticipated rematch took place. The 7th ranked Villanova Wildcats, wearing 1985 throw-back uniforms (perhaps to harness the power of their all-time biggest win over Georgetown in the National Title game) resoundingly beat the 24th ranked Georgetown Hoyas 69-53, to avenge the earlier loss. With the win, Villanova maintained its first place position in the Big East standings.
Villanova combined an aggressive defense with sizzling shooting to take command of the game early on. Darrun Hilliard’s three pointer at the 13:33 mark of the opening half put the Wildcats on top 9-7, and started a 13-0 run. A short while later, the Wildcats went on a 9-2 run that saw three different Wildcats (Phil Booth, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Kris Jenkins) connect from long range to give Villanova a 30-13 advantage (to the delight of the sold-out crowd) with 5:35 left in the half. By the intermission, the Wildcats held a 37-23 lead.
Hilliard led Villanova with 14 points on 5-7 shooting from the field, including 2-4 from distance. Conversely, Georgetown’s two leading scorers coming in to the game, D’Vauntes Smith–Rivera and Josh Smith were held to a combined two points. Josh Smith a 6’10”, 350 pound Center, who played a significant role in the earlier game between the teams this season, was almost invisible during the first twenty minutes.
Villanova hit 13 of 25 shots in the first half (52%),and significantly hit 7 of 13 three-pointers (53.8 %). In contrast, the Hoyas hit only 9 of 29 shots (31%), including a feeble 1-8 from three point range. Daniel Ochefu, who usually starts for Villanova did not start today allegedly for a minor infraction of team rules. Josh Hart started in his place.
Villanova began the second half on a 17-8 run to stretch its lead to 54-31. The run was punctuated by two triples from both Hart and Jenkins. When Arcidiacono converted three foul shots with 9:50 left, Villanova held its largest lead of the game 57-33. The Hoyas were unable to cut Villanova’s margin under twenty points until under five minutes remained in the game.
Hilliard led the way for the Wildcats with 15 points. He also stuffed the stat sheet with 6 rebounds, a team-leading 4 assists, and 2 steals. Joining Hilliard in double figures were Hart with 13 points, and JayVaughn Pinkston who chipped in 10. Pinkston was also the game’s leading rebounder with 8. The Hoyas leading scorer was L.J. Peak with 15 points on 6 of 18 shooting. Mikael Hopkins was Georgetown’s leading rebounder with 7 boards.
Overall, Villanova hit 22-46 of its field goal attempts (47.8%), including 12-24 three-point shots (50%). Georgetown ended up hitting 18 of 60 (30%), and a putrid 1 0f 17 three-point attempts (5.9%). The Hoyas out-rebounded the Wildcats 38-34. Villanova had 15 assists, but coughed up the ball 20 times (many of them were unforced). Georgetown had 10 assists and were forced into 15 turnovers.
Villanova, now 21-2 overall, 8-2 Big East, next plays on Wednesday night, February 11 when it visits the Providence Friars (17-7, 7-4 Big East). Georgetown, (15-8, 7-5 Big East), next plays on Tuesday night, February 10, when they travel to New Jersey to play Seton Hall.
[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]
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