The Villanova Wildcats and Georgetown Hoyas finished their respective regular seasons on Saturday afternoon in Washington D.C. Linked as contemporaries and rivals throughout the history of the Big East Conference, the two teams come out of the encounter as polar opposites after ‘Nova’s 81-55 victory over the Hoyas.
For the ‘Cats, they’re at the top yet again after clinching the Big East regular season title last week. Their victory Saturday doesn’t mean much in the short-term, although wrapping it up shielded them from the possibility of nearing the 2-line in the NCAA Tournament instead of keeping a grasp on a 1 seed. The victory puts them at 15-3 in the Big East and has them 63-9 in the last four years of conference play. Seems decent, yeah?
The Hoyas meanwhile drop to a conference record of 5-13 and 14-17 overall. After finishing 15-18 a year ago, Georgetown has pulled off an unprecedented feat: For the first time since the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons, the Hoyas have recorded back-to-back losing seasons. John Thompson Jr. had been brought in after a disastrous ‘71-’72 season (they went 3-23!) so now, of course... well, you know what the rest of this sentence would say.
The usual cast of characters played leading roles on Saturday afternoon. Josh Hart put up 21 points as he looks to wrap up his case for Big East Player of the Year. Jalen Brunson meanwhile added 17 points, four rebounds and two assists while Mikal Bridges and Kris Jenkins chipped in 12 and 19 points of their own. In his first action in a few games, Darryl Reynolds grabbed seven rebounds, one assist and a steal but did not record a point.
Rodney Pryor capped off a terrific regular season with 21 points and eight rebounds. While he did so on 19 shots, Pryor should still gain plenty of praise for how this season has turned out. He was able to put up double figures in all but two games this year and for someone who had played in the Northeast Conference through his entire career to this point, that’s a hell of a way to make a jump into a bigger conference. L.J. Peak unfortunately ran into foul trouble and was only able to muster up two points on the day.
Now we wait for the Big East Tournament as Villanova won’t play until Thursday. Georgetown, meanwhile, has a looming face-off with St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.