Make it 10 in a row for the Villanova Wildcats.
Those who predicted Nova’s demise after their early season struggles my have quite a bit of egg on their faces. The Wildcats won their 10th consecutive game on Sunday, dispatching the rival Georgetown Hoyas 77-65 in Philadelphia.
The victory is not only Villanova’s 10th in a row, but it pushes their conference record to a robust 9-0. Even in their dominant run over the Big East since reformation, they have yet to go on that kind of start in conference play in some time. The last time they got off to this start was the 2009-10 season, when they were 9-0 as well (We will not be discussing how that season came to an end).
While Phil Booth and Eric Paschall helped facilitate this win as they usually do, neither Booth nor Paschall were the star of the day. No, instead that title belongs to Collin Gillespie. The former Catholic League MVP went off for a career-high 30 points at the Wells Fargo Center, blowing by his previous high of 21 that he set back in December against the Penn Quakers.
He also hit six 3-pointers, which matches a career best that he set against the Xavier Musketeers last month. The seven made field goals he had against the Hoyas also wound up tying a career-high he had set this season, as he had seven against the Florida State Seminoles all the way back in November.
The aforementioned Paschall and Booth combined for 38 of the Wildcats’ 77 points. Paschall led the way with 24 of those 38 points, while Booth was ‘slowed down’ for 14. It should be noted that Booth’s play did taper off from how he has performed lately, as he shot 5-for-15 from the field. Paschall, meanwhile, was 9-for-17 from the floor.
Apart from this trio, the rest of the Wildcats scored just a combined nine points. Six of them belonged to Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Jermaine Samuels put up three. But Samuels’ impact wasn’t necessarily on the scoreboard, but instead on the glass. He had an absurd 16 rebounds, 14 coming on the defensive side. Cosby-Roundtree added seven boards of his own, five of them coming on the defensive glass.
The Hoyas, meanwhile, struggled from all areas of the floor. They shot just 33.8 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from beyond the arc. They went just 11-for-18 from the FT line, too, as part of a sluggish performance on Sunday against the stingy ‘Nova defense.
Jessie Govan was held to no points in 13 minutes as he wound up fouling out. He went 0-for-9 from the field and had just two rebounds on his line. It was certainly a very forgettable performance for Govan, who has typically been great this season.
James Akinjo wasn’t slowed down all too much, as the freshman scored 19 points, a team-best on the day. Trey Mourning added 12 points and sophomore Jamorko Pickett put up 10 points. Greg Malinowski had eight points, but no other Hoya had more than five.
Georgetown’s loss puts them at 4-5 on the season in Big East play, but they’ll have to reverse course promptly. A large matchup looms against the Providence Friars in Friartown come Wednesday. The Friars will be out for revenge after the double OT thriller last month went the Hoyas way. Villanova, meanwhile, hosts the Creighton Bluejays on Wednesday, as well. That matchup will bridge the gap between the much anticipated showdown next weekend in Milwaukee against the Marquette Golden Eagles.