#2 AP, Villanova took care of business at home to defeat Georgetown Tuesday night at the Pavilion by a final score of 75-64. The Cats ran out to a fifteen-point half-time led and seemed poised to maintain solid control of the game through the second half … instead, the Hoyas wouldn’t go away and ‘Nova couldn’t buy a jump-shot. In fact, the Cats had to grind out baskets off tip-ins, second chance lay-ups, and free-throws as the Hoyas fought back to cut the lead to two on two occasions - including, 61-59 with 2:18 remaining.
At that point, the Cats had to execute down the stretch to grab the win. First it was Jalen Brunson maneuvering past Jonathan Mulmore for what looked to be a clean path to the basket - forcing Mulmore to foul him. Brunson calmly sank two free throws to get the Cats back up by four at the 2:08 mark At the other end, Brunson stole the ball off L.J. Peak and on the ensuing possession, Josh Hart drained the first made jumper for Villanova in the second-half - a straight-away, three-ball, dagger that but ‘Nova up 66-59 with 1:26 remaining and the Hoyas were soon thereafter forced to begin fouling.
The win ensures that Villanova will enter a critical, Saturday road game against Xavier with at least a 1.5 game lead in the Big East standings. A win Saturday puts the Wildcats in the drivers seat for a fourth consecutive Big East regular season championship.
- Won the rebounding battle - 34-30 (10 O-boards for each team)
- 6-14 3PFG shooting in the first half
- 17-9 edge in bench points
- 16-8 edge in points of turnovers
- +6 advantage at the free-throw line
- 84.2% FT shooting
- 57.6% shooting from two-point range
- 1-9 3PFG shooting in the second half
Josh Hart (37 Min, 25 Points, 8-18 FG, 4-9 3PFG, 5-6 FTs, 7 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 0 Turnovers, 2 Steals, 1 Block, 136 ORtg) Hart was torrid in the first half (posting 17 points), cold to begin the second half and then clinched the win by posting 8 points in the final 3:34 of the game. His dagger three, a lay-up in XT and three free-throws were crucial down the stretch. Hart was all over the glass, strong with the ball and his normal, maniacal, self in terms of motor.
Kris Jenkins (28 Min, 9 Points, 3-7 FG, 1-4 3PFG, 2-3 FT, 4 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 0 Steals, 0 Blocks, 4 Turnovers, 82 ORtg) Jenkins looked solid on offense in the first-half - getting some things done off the bounce and knocking down a trey. In the second-half, the length and athleticism of Georgetown on the wings seemed to smother him a bit. He made some uncharacteristic turnovers but did chip in with a couple of important rebounds.
Darryl Reynolds (20 Min, 6 Points, 7 Rebounds, 2-2 FG, 2-2 FT, 0 Assist, 0 Turnover, 1 Steal, 0 Blocks, 208 ORtg) Reynolds was super-efficient - contributing one of his best outings in some time against a team with a sizable front-court (in other words - he came up big when the Cats needed him). Strong on the boards, scored it when he got it, hit both ends of a critical one-on-one as Georgetown was making its late charge. 6 points and 7 boards from the 5-spot in half a game … Coach Wright will take that any night from Reynolds.
Mikal Bridges (34 Min, 11 points, 5-6 FGs, 1-2 3PFG, 0-0 FTs, 3 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 3 Steals, 1 Block,137 ORtg) Bridges was great on defense and efficient on offense too. He used his length to be a real difference-maker in the passing lanes and to block/alter shots. Though he didn’t seem to try to do much off the dribble tonight, he stuffed the stat-sheet nicely otherwise.
Jalen Brunson (31 Min, 7 Points, 2-11 FGs, 1-5 3PFG, 2-2 FTs, 1 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 1 Steals, 75 ORtg) Despite not being able to get his shots to drop through much of the game, Brunson still had a solid A/TO ratio and made winning plays in the closing minutes. A big steal, a huge play to get to the FT line in a one possession game late. The kid just finds ways to help his team win games - even when he isn’t filling the pail.
Eric Paschall (24 Min, 2 Points, 1-4 FGs, 0-1 3PFG, 0-0 FT, 3 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 0 Turnovers, 0 Steals, 1 Block, 107 ORtg) A big positive for Paschall in this game was that he avoided turning the ball over. His only made bucket was a powerful dunk in the first half. His defense and activity on the glass were positives.
Donte DiVincenzo (26 Min, 15 Points, 5-8 FG, 0-2 3PFG, 5-6 FT, 6 Rebound, 2 Assists, 0 Turnovers, 0 Steals, 0 Blocks, 154 ORtg) Another solid game for the Frosh. He handled the PG chores quite a bit and it was very promising to see him bounce back from a high turnover game with a 2 Assist / 0 Turnover outing. DiVincenzo really helped save the Cats bacon by scoring some critical second-half points at times when ‘Nova was struggling to score. With Jenkins in a mini-funk, the play of DiVincenzo has been significant.
Villanova (#2 AP, 23-2 overall, 10-2 Big East) faces Xavier at the Cintas Center, 2:30 p.m. Saturday on Fox.