It finally happened. Villanova finally lost back-to-back Big East games.
Actually, there are two ways to look at it. Either Villanova lost consecutive conference games for the first time since 2013 or Georgetown put together its best 40 minutes of basketball under Patrick Ewing to beat the Wildcats for the first time since 2015. No matter how you slice it, one thing is clear: Georgetown finally has a signature win under second-year head coach Patrick Ewing.
That win came on the back of a strong team defensive performance as the Hoyas (16-10, 6-7 Big East) fought for every loose ball and scrapped for every rebound to defeat the Wildcats (20-7, 11-3 Big East), 85-73, on Wednesday night. Jessie Govan led Georgetown with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Mac McClung added 21 points as well, 17 of which came in the first half. Phil Booth and Eric Paschall scored 26 and 16 points for Villanova, respectively.
The teams exchanged baskets early on, with the Wildcats holding a one-point lead at the first media timeout. But Georgetown came out of the break energized on the defensive end and hot on the offensive side, James Akinjo nailed a three-pointer before McClung hit a three of his own. That three-pointer helped the latter find his hot hand, as he hit his opening five field goal attempts, including four from behind the arc. His fifth was a long two-point jumper through contact, which gave Georgetown a 32-25 lead with just over five minutes to play. The Hoyas would extend their lead to as many as 14 shortly after thanks to three-pointers from Akinjo and Jamorko Pickett. Villanova stopped the bleeding after Saddiq Bey converted an open dunk and Collin Gillespie hit two free throws just before the break.
The Hoyas, anchored by Govan, grabbed twice as many rebounds as the Wildcats, 20-10, in the first. Georgetown also shot 52 percent to Villanova’s 38, while the latter hit just 4-of-14 three-point attempts. Despite forcing just five turnovers, the Hoyas’ defense was stout, diving for loose balls and getting out in transition.
Villanova came out of the interemission swinging, and Bey once again slammed it home to cut the lead to just six points within four minutes. But Georgetown responded with a 14-5 run, capped by a three-pointer by Jessie Govan, in the following two minutes. Paschall took it upon himself to drive to the rim seemingly at will, and he connected on a pair of free throws resulting from said penetration to make it a nine-point game midway through the half.
Though Georgetown bent, committing several turnovers in the second half, it never broke, largely because Villanova couldn't find its shooting stroke. No one outside of Paschall and Booth could find the bottom of the net for the Wildcats, and Georgetown capitalized by taking a 19-point lead as late as 4:01 remaining after Kaleb Johnson connected on a pair of free throws. Johnson’s eight rebounds and positional awareness keyed many of Georgetown’s best sequences. Villanova applied full-court pressure in the dying minutes, which forced turnovers and allowed Booth and Gillespie to add to their point tallies, but the Hoyas’ lead was never seriously threatened. Govan capped the win with a mailman dunk in transition with a minute remaining, sending the home fans into a frenzy.
The Wildcats shot just 24 percent from deep on the night and allowed 32 points in the paint. Meanwhile, Georgetown recorded assists on 23 of its 29 made field goals, and scored six more points off turnovers despite committing 13 to Villanova’s nine. All ten Hoyas who played recorded at least two points to accentuate the team-based nature of the win.
Villanova will need to find a consistent complimentary scorer to Booth and Paschall before traveling to Xavier on Sunday afternoon. Georgetown travels to Omaha for a date with Creighton on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET.