College Basketball Recap: Georgetown 85, #17 Villanova 73
January 19, 2015. That is the last time that the Georgetown Hoyas defeated the Villanova Wildcats. That year, both Georgetown and Villanova went on the the third round of the NCAA playoffs and lost in that same round. Since then, the two teams have gone in opposite directions. The Hoyas suffered through two straight losing seasons before firing coach John Thompson III and hiring Hoya legend, Patrick Ewing. Villanova, on the other hand, has won two of the last three national championships while losing a total of thirteen games over the course of the next three years. On Wednesday night, however, Georgetown gave Big East fans a glimpse of what they hope to be the future of this rivalry.
Georgetown made relatively easy work of the Wildcats at Capital One Arena on Wednesday night, going up 9-8 with 15:09 left in the first half and never trailing again. The Hoyas led by ten at halftime and by as much as fifteen, eventually pulling out an 85-73 victory, Patrick Ewing’s first victory over a ranked team in eight tries. This was Georgetown’s first victory over a ranked team since 2017. The victory was desperately needed by the Hoyas, coming off of two straight loses and all but losing all hope of securing a berth in the NCAA tournament. The loss was especially crushing for Villanova , losing their third out of their last four games, including blowing an eleven point halftime lead against St. Johns.
The Hoyas were in control for the enitre game, but it was a tale of two halves as Ewing’s young squad showed versatility on offense and proved that they could score in a variety of ways. The first half was very much the Mac McClung show as the dynamic freshman made his first four three pointers on his to seventeen first half points. The Hoyas controlled the pace of the game in the first half and shot over 50% from the field. The second half saw Jessie Govan break out for 15 points after scoring six in the first half. Villanova adjusted their defense to put more pressure on McClung, causing him to miss his last four threes. Govan, however, picked up the slack, scoring with ease in the paint and picking up multiple plus ones. Another Freshman, James Akinjo, chipped in 10 points to go along with two steals.
The Hoyas outpaced the Wildcats in every aspect of the game shooting 51% from the field compared to ‘Nova’s 39%. Villanova could not take advantage of Georgetown’s 293rd ranked three point defense, shooting only 24% compared to the Hoyas’ 39%. The Hoyas out-rebounded Villanova 39-33 including a 30-21 advantage in defensive rebounds.
The Hoyas play on Saturday versus Creighton followed by two games versus DePaul and one against Seton Hall. The young team will look to sweep the of the regular season and make some noise in the Big East Tournament to try and sneak into the NCAA’s or play in the NIT, at worst. For Villanova, they have some soul searching to do after losing three of their last four and games against Marquette, Xavier and Butler coming up.