Though Georgetown has already seen its fair share of grounding losses since mid-December, Wednesday night’s 88-56 defeat at the hands of #1 Villanova was certainly the most emphatic. The disparity in experience was on full display throughout the game, as the young Hoyas fell behind early and could never stop the bleeding. Based on my research, this was the program’s worst loss since the Gerald Ford administration. Moreover, the final score came on the heels of a 12-0 Hoyas run to end the game and thus was somewhat deceiving; prior to that, the Wildcats held an 88-44 lead.
It’s hard to say much from a student section perspective because Villanova was able to suck the life out of the arena very quickly. Though student turnout was strong and The Vault was much fuller than usual, Villanova’s explosive first half crushed any hope of an upset. After Georgetown showed life and energized the crowd by going on a quick run to cut the deficit to 13-8, the Wildcats responded with an 18-0 run that effectively ended the contest at the Under-8 media timeout. As three-pointer after three-pointer poured in from the likes of sharpshooters Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, and Phil Booth, the crowd was left stunned. The ‘Nova offense, perhaps the best in the nation this season, was firing on all cylinders.
By halftime, the hypothesis I had constructed pregame as to how the Hoyas could pull off the upset seemed utterly comical. In my opinion, it wasn’t even that Georgetown played that horribly in the first half. It was just that Villanova was that good. Little changed in the second half, thus clinching the humbling loss.
Identifying a standout performer after a result like this is never the easiest job, but credit goes to Jagan Mosely for drawing – by my count – four or five offensive fouls on the night, which contributed to the normally efficient Wildcats turning the ball over 16 times. Mosely has proven himself to be a strong performer in big games – see his 20 points against Syracuse – and has seen a recent uptick in his minutes because of this. Moving forward, I hope to see his minutes continue to increase.
Looking forward, the Hoyas welcome Chris Mullin and St. John’s to town on Saturday. The Johnnies haven’t won since December 20th, but have looked competitive throughout Big East play. Despite losing second-leading scorer Marcus LoVett, St. John’s has kept it close against Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, and Creighton. The initial matchup between the Hoyas and St. John’s at Madison Square Garden was an ugly game, as both teams stumbled through a cagey first 30 minutes before the game finally opened up near its conclusion. Hopefully, Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas can rebound from Wednesday night’s humbling loss and kick-start the second half of their Big East campaign with a strong performance this weekend.