December 11, 2020 –
The Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball team opened conference play beating the Georgetown Hoyas 76 – 63 on the road at McDonough Arena. The Wildcats got the win behind a strong second half effort to improve to 5 – 1 on the season and stand 1 – 0 in the Big East. In typical Big East fashion, it was a struggle at times, but the end result was the a reward.
“I’m proud of our guys for grinding it out on the road and continuing to play for forty minutes,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “In this league you get a win on the road, it’s very, very valuable.”
Georgetown got the better of play in the opening twenty minutes getting inside baskets. Adding to the struggle Villanova was a bit cold from three-point land sinking 7 of 22 while going 12 for 34 overall. The Hoyas made 12 of 19 shots from inside the arc getting close in buckets from Qudus Wahab who scored all of his 12 points in the first half. The Hoyas lead grew to as many as 18 points.
“They were well prepared for everything we did,” Wright said. “They sliced us in the first half. We couldn’t stop them. Everything we tried to do, they had an answer for.”
Georgetown held a 46 – 33 lead at intermission
Things changed in the latter twenty minutes. Nova regained the lead in just over six minutes behind a 15 – 0 run. The Hoyas were scoreless for nearly five minutes. A three-pointer by Collin Gillespie tied it at 50, then a Caleb Daniels triple gave Villanova the lead. Now they were making shots, but the Nova defense was the difference.
“We were sharing the ball, guys were getting good looks, but the shots weren’t falling,” Gillespie said. “In the second half we wanted to keep doing that, keep sharing the ball, making extra passes and get guys shots. More was focused on the defensive end putting together some stops.”
Georgetown was held to 8 of 30 shooting and made only one of eleven three-pointers in the second half.
The teams went back and forth, then Villanova would put it away over the last four and a half minutes started by a Daniels three-ball at 4:25 that provided a 63 – 61 lead. Nova closed the game on a 13 – 2 run.
“We didn’t make any great changes, we just got comfortable with what they were doing and defended it better,” said Wright.
Daniels and Gillespie led Nova with 18 points. Both players made 5 from beyond the arc. Cole Swider added 10 points and had two needed three’s over the last nine minutes. Gillespie handed out 6 assists. Justin Moore aslo had 6 assists and pulled down a team-high 8 rebounds.
Jamorko Pickett led the Hoyas with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jahvon Blair contributed 11 points.
Big East play continues for Villanova as Butler is next on the schedule on Wednesday. It will be the first home game for the Wildcats. For them, another day at the office.
“Every next game is our biggest game,” said Daniels. “There’s always a lot of excitement coming into the Pavilion, but we treat every game the same and attack it the same way.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian