Coming off a shaky 69-68 OT win against Seton Hall earlier this week, the Wildcats were out to prove themselves as a legitimate championship contender in March.
Both teams traded baskets for the first few minutes of the game as ‘Nova struggled to find their shooting rhythm. They eventually go into the swing of things and took a 12-10 lead after a three-pointer from Jalen Brunson. Villanova held onto that lead for the rest of the half, with the lead peaking at a 15 points in the final minute of the half. Freshmen Collin Gillespie and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree each had 6 minutes in the first half but combined for 9 points, bringing in some rotation from the bench. Mikal Bridges started taking control of the game for the Wildcats, finishing with 14 points in the half.
The Wildcats committed 6 turnovers in the first half but were moving the ball efficiently, assisting on 13 of their 18 FGs. The shots weren’t quite falling from behind the arc, hitting only 5 of their 15 three-pointers. Their defense was doing well guarding Georgetown’s offense, with the Hoyas making only 35% of the shots and zero from three-point land. Jessie Govan was leading the way for the Hoyas with 13 points and 5 rebounds at the half.
‘Nova continued their hot shooting early in the second half, nursing a double-digit lead that they would hold out for the rest of the game. Bridges and Donte Divincenzo continued their scoring with some threes and were aided by some baskets down low from Omari Spellman and Eric Paschall. For the most part ‘Nova seemed to be winning the battle down low while on offense, but definitely had trouble containing Govan on defense.
Midway through the second half Georgetown got the lead back within 11 and looked like they might actually make it a game, but ‘Nova responded with a 10-0 run and quickly pushed the lead back to 20. The final few minutes of the game was simply a formality as it seemed the Wildcats simply couldn’t miss a shot.
Jay Wright took out Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges individually in the final minutes of the game to standing applause from Wells Fargo. With Bridges projected to be an early first round pick in the draft and Brunson scheduled to graduate at the end of this semester, this was possibly their final home game with the Villanova Wildcats.
For the Hoyas, Govan finished with a career high 30 points as Paschall and Spellman had trouble containing the junior center. The Wildcats held Georgetown to 43% from the field and only let up 3 three-pointers.
Five Villanova players finished in double digits with Bridges leading the way with 24 points and 6 rebounds, Brunson tacked on 16 points and 7 assists, Divincenzo added 15, and Paschall and Spellman both finished with 13 points. Granted, Georgetown wasn’t exactly the best competition to prepare for the Big East Tournament, but a 24 point victory is a solid morale booster heading into tournament season.
The Villanova Wildcats finish the season 27-4 and 14-4 in the Big East, finishing second in the conference as Xavier won the regular season title with their win earlier today. The Wildcats start their quest to go back-to-back as Big East Champions on Thursday at 7 pm against the winner of the 7/10 seed.