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Big East Tournament recap, Round 2: `Cats use big second half to put away Hoyas, 81-67

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

After a cold start, it was three point shooting that carried the Wildcats to victory. Villanova Wildcats shot 13-21 from long range to defeat the Georgetown Hoyas 81-67.

They will face the winner of Providence-Butler.

With the late news of another Daniel Ochefu injury, it was uncertain how the Wildcats would come out of the gate. In games Ochefu had foul trouble, `Nova struggled to have a presence in the paint. The Hoyas were getting Bradley Hayes back today, so the timing worked out perfectly for G'Town.

"He couldn't practice yesterday, so we didn't know. We had a choice to try to let him go yesterday in practice and see what we got, or rest him and see what he got today. We went with today. I think it got tweaked again. He tried. He gave us everything we got. We have to try to rest him up and see if we can get him feeling better tomorrow."

With a less than 100% chef, Georgetown dominated rebounding 25-12 in the first half, including a 9-0 advantage on the offensive glass. That carried over into the second half as well as they won boards on the day 42-30.

Even so, the Hoyas were cold from the floor. They shot just 34.4% from the field and 38.8% overall. The threes kept Villanova in the game in the first half, hitting 6-12 along with 40.7% in shooting overall. The `Cats missed countless baskets close to the rim, driving their overall percentage down.

Jay commended the Hoya defense in the first half. "Teams do a good job, and Georgetown did, of trying to get at Ryan and Josh and Kris. They know who to go after .That was part of that first half. We couldn't get those guys going." To stay in the game, Wright preached about doing the other things. "We have to just continue to play defense, hang in until we can get free. [That happened] when we had a couple of shots and got out in transition."

Both teams did well limiting fouls in the first half, with the Wildcats committing 3 to the Hoyas' 5. Josh Hart had two of those, however, and spent a lot of the half on the bench. Neither team attempted a free throw until the second half.

The second half started with more struggles in the front court. Bradley Hayes had six straight points. The Hoyas jumped out to a six points lead after a Smith-Rivera jumper, but the `Cats responded immediately with a 8-0 run over 44 seconds to jump out two points ahead.

The lead wouldn't get much bigger for a while. More back and forth from both teams kept the game within a possession until a transition three by Ryan Arcidiacono and a pair of free throws for Kris Jenkins put the lead at 7 points, the biggest lead for either team.

On the multiple three pointers Arcidiacono had in transition, he said, "I didn't think we had numbers [on transition] but Coach always tells me to be aggressive. That's what we do in practice. If I'm out in transition, I'm pretty much the only one who pulls up."

That would be part of an eventual 13-1 in a less than three minute span to put the Wildcats up double digits. At the same time, the Hoyas were 0 for their last 5 field goals.

Unlike the first half, the Hoyas committed enough fouls to put `Nova in the double bonus. The Wildcats hit their free throws late to put the game away for good.

When asked if a win over Georgetown means more to the players, Jay responded "I don't think so, but I don't know." Hart just smiled and said "No," to which Jay and Arch laughed and said "That mean's yes."