It had been almost 33 years since Patrick Ewing was involved in a game against the Villanova Wildcats. This game was nothing like the 1985 National Championship, but it probably still left Ewing wondering what the hell just happened. Nova throttled the Georgetown Hoyas 88-56, burying them with threes and suffocating defense.
Six Wildcats scored in double digits in this one, led by Jalen Brunson’s 18 points and 7 assists. “This is one of our best defensive games as a unit,” the team leader said in a post game interview. “Everyone’s buying in. We’re not perfect, but we strive for perfection.” Mikal Bridges had a great game himself with 17 points, including 4 of 5 from deep.
The Wildcats hit 17 threes in the game at a 52% clip, burying Georgetown early. “When you make every shot... there’s really nothing you can do,” said head coach Jay Wright after the game. “It’s fun when your guys are doing it though. And then, it’s contagious, everybody starts hitting them.” That was certainly true as six players hit threes, and five of them shot 50% or better.
On defense, Villanova held Georgetown under 40% shooting and under 30% from beyond the arc. They were +4 in rebounds and turned the Hoyas over 17 times in the game, including 8 steals.
In the first half, the Wildcats put their foot on the gas and never let up as they more than doubled Georgetown’s score. Both Phil Booth and Donte DiVincenzo scored 10 points, and Villanova shot 10 for 19 from deep. On defense, the Hoyas were held to just 31% from the floor, including 0 for 8 from beyond the arc. Villanova went on 11-0 and 18-0 runs in the first, and Georgetown simply looked stunned.
In the second half, Nova continued to light up the Hoyas from deep. They hit 7 of their first 10 3’s in the half and built a 40+ point lead before the freshman and walkons closed out the game.
Villanova will travel to UConn on Saturday to close out their non-conference schedule.
Georgetown may have hit the first basket, but it was the Wildcats who were pouring it on early in this one. After big man Jessie Govan opened the game with a quick bucket, Phil Booth and Eric Paschall responded with a pair of threes. Omari Spellman added a mid range jumper of his own, and Villanova had already jumped out to an early six point lead by the first TV timeout.
The scoring continued after the break as Mikal Bridges got three points the old fashioned way. Govan finally got the ball back on the block to put an end to Nova’s 11-0 run, but the Hoya’s were already in an early hole. Villanova’s defense was smothering the home team, creating offense off of turnovers and forcing Georgetown into both offensive and defensive fouls. Donte DiVincenzo epitomized this by drawing a charge on one possession, followed by a steal and transition layup.
With just over 10 minutes to play, Villanova had built a 10 point lead. Five of Nova’s “six starters” already had points on the board, and surprisingly the only one that hadn’t was Jalen Brunson. But even though he hadn’t found the basket yet, he already had 2 assists on the night. The Wildcats were finding different ways to score, while Georgetown was shooting just 27% from the field and 0-5 from deep.
Then Villanova busted things wide open. Booth and Brunson nailed back-to-back-to-back 3’s, and the last one turned into a 4 point play that put Booth into double digits with more than 8 minutes to play. At the same time, Colin Gillespie checked into the game for the first time in over a month after being sidelined with a broken hand. You wouldn’t have been able to tell as the freshman guard was diving on the ground for balls and playing aggressive defense.
Villanova was rolling, and now on an 18-0 run in under 4 minutes to make the score 31-8 with 7:32 remaining in the first. Georgetown had as many points as turnovers, and the Hoyas looked like they were just going through the motions. They finally started finding some success in the paint with Govan, who started the game a perfect 3 of 3 from the floor. But they still had no way of stopping Villanova’s offense, as Villanova continued to build on their 20+ point lead.
The Wildcats were on fire from deep in the first half, hitting 9 of their first 16 attempts. DiVincenzo hit his second three of the game to give Villanova their 10th three of the half, extending Nova’s lead to 24 points. Georgetown was able to get a basket back before the half, but the Wildcats would go into the locker-room leading the Hoyas 42-20.
Nova didn’t let up in the second half, getting a quick jumper by Bridges, followed by two great defensive plays by Eric Paschall that both resulted in baskets and pushed the Wildcat lead to 29. Georgetown was able to keep this run from hitting double digits before they scored a basket of their own, but they still couldn’t cool the Wildcats up from deep. Less than three minutes into the second half, they were already 2 for 2 from deep and leading by 30.
Georgetown was just being run out of the building. They couldn’t keep up with the Wildcats defensively, and they couldn’t hold onto the ball on offense. With 4 turnovers in the first 5 minutes, the Hoyas had only manged 2 points on 1 of 5 shooting in the second half.
Villanova kept their hot shooting from deep going, but by the mid-point of the second half Georgetown had found some interior scoring and finally hit their first three. The Wildcats were clearly in control of this one, but the Hoyas had finally started to keep the deficit from growing. They even started to chip away at the lead as Jessie Govan reached double digit scoring.
But this one had already been over for a long time. Even with seven minutes left to play, Villanova was up by 40 points. The freshman were getting some run, and the whole thing was getting laughable. Georgetown clearly still had a ways to go before they could compete with the elite of the Big East.