The ‘Cats were coming off their worst 3-point shooting performance of the season against Creighton when they shot a miserable 6-33 from behind the arc, despite coming out with the victory. They seemed to find their footing today, as they defeated the Georgetown Hoyas 80-66 for their third Big East win of the season.
Georgetown came into the game off a dominating victory over Saint Johns on Wednesday but was unable to maintain that winning momentum.
When ‘Nova’s first three-pointer of the game from Saddiq Bey rimmed out, you could sense a groan around the Wells Fargo Arena, fearing another cold shooting night. However, they made their next two three-pointers and jumped to a 10-7 lead after the first media timeout.
The Hoyas got red hot from the field, making their next seven shots in a row and pulled ahead 21-19, forcing coach Jay Wright to take a timeout to regroup. Justin Moore, the leading freshman scorer in the Big East, got into the action with a three-pointer and the ‘Cats retook the lead. They must have read Brendan’s piece on three-point shooting before the game, because the shots were falling from behind the arc just like normal. The three-pointers were a big part of the 9-0 run that finally gave Villanova some room to breath.
Bey took control of the final minutes of the first half, tallying 19 points in the first half alone. Mac McClung and Georgetown wouldn’t go away, and the ‘Cats took a 39-36 lead into the half. Villanova made 14 shots from the field, with 10 of them coming from behind the arc. No other player for the ‘Cats had more than 6 points in the first half, while 4 Hoyas had more than 7 points.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl hit a layup to open the second half, and then grabbed a steal which resulted in another three-pointer from Bey, and Patrick Ewing called a timeout just thirty seconds into the second half. The ‘Cats turned up the pressure on defense, forcing a few turnovers in the first few minutes to extend the ‘Cats lead to double-digits.
Georgetown responded with a quick run of their own, cutting the lead back to 5. Bey could not miss from the field, scoring a few more baskets to push him over his previous career-high of 27 points, which came just over a month ago against Penn. A mix of good defense and good offensive possessions pushed the Villanova lead back to double-digits, which they maintained for the rest of the game.
Bey finished with a career high 33 points, shooting 8-10 behind the arc, more than half of Villanova’s made three-pointers. JRE had another big day with 14 points and 7 rebounds, and Gillespie added 11 points and 5 assists. The ‘Cats got their shooting touch back, making just over half of their three-pointers.
Four Georgetown players scored more than 10 points, but it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback in the final minutes.
For Bey, he set a new career-high for points just a month after his previous record came against Penn (also while wearing one of the new jerseys...hmmm). He also set a career-high in three-pointers made and field-goals made. “You gotta have those games where you’re not afraid to shoot, and [Bey] was hitting those today,” Coach Wright said after the game.
The Wildcats take a quick break before hosting the 12-3 Depaul Blue Demons on Tuesday at the Finneran Pavilion. Tip-off is set for for 8:30 pm.