PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/3/2019 – The 14th ranked Villanova Wildcats hosted an old rival in the Georgetown Hoyas. It was going to be interesting as each team has a contrast in style. Villanova led the Big East in scoring defense giving up 69 points per game, Georgetown scores on average 84.5 points in league games. Score one for defense as the Wildcats move to 9 – 0 in the Big East with a hard fought 77 – 65 win over the Hoyas.
“This team (Georgetown) does a lot of thing offensively well,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “They can win without Jessie Govan scoring big numbers. They play at a high pace. No matter what the numbers are, we did a lot of good things today, because they are a good offensive team.”
The most important good thing was the Hoyas were contained getting 20 points below their average, and had .929 points per possession as they were 33.8% (23 – 68) from the floor. Nova was able to limit the Hoyas leading scorer Jessie Govan to no points on 0 for 5 shooting, and Govan was in foul trouble the whole game. Credit the Wildcats forwards Jermaine Samuels and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree who were given the assignment of defending Govan.
“I thought they were really inspired playing Govan,” Wright said about Samuels and Cosby-Roundtree defensive performance. “They took on that challenge. They respect him, they know him from last year.”
“I was just trying to make things difficult for him,” Samuels said.
Samuels had only one made basket, but set a collegiate-mark for rebounds as he pulled down 16 boards. Cosby-Roundtree had 7 rebounds.
You need points to win and Villanova got them from guard Collin Gillespie who scored a career-high 30 points shooting 7 of 13 from the floor and went 6 of 11 from beyond the arc which tied a career-best in made three-pointers.
“I was just catching and shoot, guys were finding me when I was off the ball,” Gillespie said.
“We focused on him (Gillespie) knowing he can shoot, but we gave him too much air space and he was able to knock down all those three’s,” said Georgetown Coach Patrick Ewing.
Eric Paschall added 24 points and had 9 rebounds.
Back to the defense.
Georgetown tied the score at 53 on a three-point shot by James Akinjo, who a team-leading 19 points and set a career-best with 4 made from distance. That would be the last field goal for Georgetown for the nearly 6 minutes until Akinjo hit a jumper with 1:38 to play. The Hoyas were 0 for 11 in that span and got two free throws.
Meanwhile Phil Booth who was contained, found his stride scoring four of the next five baskets for the Cats. The 16 – 2 run broke the game open for Nova. Booth totaled 12 points, 10 after intermission.
“We have to make the right plays if we are going to win,” Ewing said. “We came in hunting shots.”
This was the 10th consecutive win for the Wildcats who stay atop of the Big East standings with a 9 – 0 record. Marquette stays just behind at 8 – 1. The Cats are 18 – 4 overall and prepare for a visit form Creighton on Wednesday. They will travel to Marquette three days later for the showdown. Wright is looking to see how good this team can evolve into.
“We’re trying to be the best team we can be,” said Wright. “I know this team has a great upside, I know we lack some experience. I want to see how far we can taken this ride one game at a time.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian