Be Still My Heart, Georgetown Defeats Villanova 69-66

Georgetown is going to kill me by the age of 50.  Today's game in Philadelphia was a life experience.  The Hoyas alternated between comfortably leading and barely holding on throughout the day, finishing with a 69-66 win that almost made my heart explode.  Austin Freeman was sublime, re-entering the discussion for Big East Player of the Year.  Freeman scored 30 points and made two of the biggest plays of Georgetown's season in the final minute of today's game.  With under one minute left, he knocked down an absurd fallaway jumper with the shot clock running down, and then found Nate Lubick for an uncontested dunk on the next possession, fighting through three Villanova players to do so.

The Hoyas are now 5-4 in the Big East, on a four game winning streak with Louisville coming to Washington, DC on Monday night.  The eight day layoff between the games against Seton Hall and St. John's have proven to be crucial for the Hoyas.  John Thompson III's shakeup of the starting lineup has paid huge dividends on the defensive end.  The Hoyas of two weeks ago in no way resemble the outfit we saw Wednesday night and today.

More thoughts after Le Jump. 

Georgetown was one of the best teams in the country heading into Big East play.  They swooned the first five games of conference play, but should be in the discussion for top four teams if they continue to sustain the rebounding and defense they've exhibited in the last two games.  Holding off Villanova in Philadelphia, where they haven't lost all year, will be important for this team's confidence in February and March.  Some fans will lament Chris Wright's mental lapse with under five minutes left, and it's understandable.  The reality is I have no comment because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED BECAUSE ESPN CUT TO THE LOUISVILLE-CONNECTICUT GAME.  I look at it another way though - Freeman was the only guard who had played well today, and we still beat a top 10 team on the road.  

Jason Clark started hot, but did nothing for the final 30 minutes of the game, and Wright wasn't great, committing four turnovers and scoring 0 points, though he controlled the tempo for most of the game.  Good news is that I know both of those guys are really good, and it speaks volumes that this team can go on the road and win in a hostile environment with only Freeman scoring more than 10 points.  Nate Lubick is growing up before our eyes, providing rebounding, defense and an edge that Georgetown hasn't seen since Patrick Ewing Jr. graduated.  Julian Vaughn played so well today, and I hope that he doesn't get lost in the shuffle of Freeman's virtuoso performance.  Say what you will about Vaughn and his inability to be Greg Monroe, but he leaves everything on the floor, has improved dramatically each year in a Georgetown uniform, and saved today's game with his free throw shooting.  Now that he is playing in position and has the support of Lubick on the floor, he can focus on what he is good at - keeping defenses honest, anchoring the middle of our defense, and providing crucial buckets at crucial times.

The road doesn't get any easier for Georgetown, with Louisville coming on Monday and then games against a streaking Providence and a date with Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.  Such is life in the Big East.  The Hoyas need to continue to play with a chip on their collective shoulders as the calendar turns to February and March.  The players and coaches must not forget how many people were - and still are - not respecting this team.  Everyone expects Georgetown to collapse after big wins because of recent history.  It's on this particular team to change that perception.  Monday will be a very good test, as both Louisville and Georgetown are streaking up the Big East standings.  I am just hoping that I don't have a heart attack in the next few months.

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