The Villanova Wildcats were able to bounce back from their two-game losing streak Wednesday night in Washington D.C., defeating the Georgetown Hoyas, 73-57.
With the result, the Hoyas’ Big East losing-streak extends to 24 games. It dates all the way back to March 13, 2021, when the Hoyas defeated Creighton to win the 2021 Big East Tournament.
Although the Wildcats got the win, it came at a cost — sophomore Jordan Longino appeared to injure his surgically-repaired left knee that forced him to miss all of the NCAA Tournament Final Four run last season.
Longino was carried off the court by teammate Nnanna Njoku, with two minutes remaining in the first half and did not return.
“I don’t think it was that bad,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said of Longino’s status post-game. “We will go back and talk to the doctors, but I don’t think it was anything too bad.”
With Georgetown students still on break, Capital One Arena was about 75% empty and not even the Georgetown band was at the game. Villanova fans traveled well filling a majority of the seats that were occupied, but even still, the Wildcats had to create their own energy.
The ‘Cats came out sluggish in the first half.
Their defense did not show any improvement in the first half even playing against the now 5-11 Hoyas. The Hoyas seemingly scored on every possession in the first half shooting 15-of-31 (48.4%) and things were tied 35-35 at the half.
Most possessions, the Hoyas set a screen with their big forcing the Wildcats to switch a guard onto their big, resulting in easy buckets around the rim. In previous years, the Wildcats have not been easily taken-advantage of like this in the post - this is a part of the Villanova basketball blueprint.
“I thought they were clicking especially offensively,” Neptune said of Georgetown’s first half performance. “They got a lot of guys who can beat you and they got a little hot to start the game.”
The second half was a different story. Villanova allowed only two made field goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half. The Hoyas shot just 6-of-28 (21.4%) and looked more like a 5-11 team.
The Wildcats capitalized, and Villanova looked great on both ends of the court, getting open shots, rebounding the ball and playing strong defense. Villanova outscored Georgetown, 38-22, in the second half to take home the win.
“I thought we came out and just played a little harder defense,” Neptune said of Villanova’s second half start. “I thought we were a little nastier defensively, I thought we rebounded the ball a little bit better, kept them out of the paint. You know, I think we did a better job, just cohesively getting it done, getting stops and just locking in.”
It was a full-team effort for the Wildcats in the nation’s capital.
Cam Whitmore drew his second consecutive start and provided a helping-hand boxing out Georgetown’s big lineup. Whitmore finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
Caleb Daniels, once again, led the way for the Wildcats contributing 20 points and six rebounds. He caught fire from the three-point line and drained six long-range shots.
Brandon Slater added 14 points, while Eric Dixon had another solid performance with 10 points and eight rebounds on 5-of-8 shooting. Freshman Mark Armstrong thrived off the bench with 14 points and three steals.
“Mark is obviously extremely talented,” Neptune said of Armstrong. “We knew our goal was to be the best by the end of the season... Mark’s obviously getting better and he did a great job tonight. And as good as he did offensively, just his energy defensively. Pressuring the ball, getting over screens, making sure all the shots that were attempted on him were tough shots. I think just being disruptive, he’s doing a great job of that.”
For the Hoyas, Jordan Riley led the way with 12 points and five rebounds. UConn transfer Akok Akok contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds. Georgetown’s guards, Primo Spears and Brandon Murray, combined for 17 points and shot a total of 7-of-21 on the court.
Villanova will look to build off of Wednesday night’s win on Saturday when they take on the 18th-ranked Xavier Musketeers at home at the Finneran Pavilion. The game will be played at 4:30 pm E.T. on FS1.