The Villanova Wildcats (18-4, 9-0) beat the Georgetown Hoyas (14-8, 4-5) in a BIG EAST battle that stirred memories of the old rivalry (recap). Patrick Ewing had his squad prepared to defend against ‘Nova’s “shoot ‘em up” offense, while Jay Wright did likewise expecting Georgetown’s pace. The result was a slow, methodical game filled with physical defense and plenty of whistles. Open looks were hard to come by on either end of the court and, frankly, neither team’s legs looked fresh stepping into shots.
One pair of seemingly-contradictory stats are that while Georgetown’s field goal percentage (.338) was the lowest of any game they’ve played this season (.348 Loyola-Marymount), the Hoyas had only 6 turnovers. Ostensibly Villanova turned up the defense, but the effects were seen more on the Hoyas’ shooting than ball-handling. That might be a product of James Akinjo growing into his point guard role at this level, but also a result of a focus on disrupting the offense of Jessie Govan and Mac McClung.
Also of note, Villanova was only whistled for 18 fouls while Georgetown’s 27 fouls on Villanova were second this year only to their OT win against Little Rock (30 fouls). Govan fouled out that game too, going 5 for 9 with 12 points in 23 minutes, so it is no secret in slowing down Georgetown’s front-court offense.
Here are the links:
Georgetown was out of sorts because two of its top three scorers, Jessie Govan and Mac McClung, were ineffective from the get-go. Villanova looked off because it simply wasn’t making shots in the first half.
The Wildcats, despite a defensive effort that slowed the Hoyas’ normally fast-paced tempo and had Ewing experimenting with lineups throughout the period, shot just 35.5 percent from the field before intermission... They were colder than usual from all over the court, and for the first game in seven outings they made fewer than 10 three-pointers...
Govan fell into foul trouble quickly, couldn’t get into any rhythm in the just over 13 minutes that he was on the court and ended up shooting 0 for 9 from the field for just the sixth scoreless game of his career — three of which have come against Villanova.
“Giving up 30 to um…uh…” said a bewildered Ewing, after his 14-8 club hung with Nova until the last six-and-a-half minutes, when the Hoyas went cold while Villanova went on a 16-2 run to break open what had been a 53-53 game early in the second half.
“We focused on him and knew that he can shoot,” said Ewing. “But we just gave him too much air space and he was able to knock down all those threes.”
The kid from Archbishop Wood in Warminster, Pa., went 6-for-11 from beyond the arc, picking up the slack for the rest of his struggling teammates, who shot a combined 3-for-20 on three-pointers
For the last few years, each Georgetown-Villanova game was a sign of how far the Hoyas were from Big East contention.— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) February 4, 2019
Yesterday's showing in Philly suggests there's still a gap, but it's smaller than it's been of late. For @TheAthleticCBB/@TheAthleticDC: https://t.co/uD9clVQMak
But those other 33 minutes? They were even. And they were even despite Georgetown getting no points from senior center Jessie Govan and just four points from fearless freshman Mac McClung.
Losses are always tough, but today was an especially tough loss for the Hoyas. https://t.co/xiCYIFYnKQ— Thompson’s Towel (@ThompsonsTowel) February 3, 2019
Phil Booth — who missed 10 of his first 12 shots — scored on a driving layup, then buried a 3 to snap a tie and give Villanova a 58-53 lead with 5:41 left. Villanova, which was called for four fouls on one possession late in the game (NB: it was about time! Hacks!) , got a Gillespie bucket to stretch the lead and hold off the Hoyas...
After Paschal converted a three-point play to give the Wildcats a 46-43 lead, he had combined with Gillespie to score 39 of their points. Gillespie, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, had flashes of scoring bursts this season. He scored a career-high 21 in a loss to Penn and 19 in a loss to Furman. But in a Big East battle, Gillespie was clutch in a win.
Daily News | With Jalen Brunson in the house for ‘Senior Day,’ Villanova takes out Georgetown | Mike Jensen https://t.co/P9S75xGQpQ— Philly Daily News (@PhillyDailyNews) February 3, 2019
Villanova ... still scored 77 points. That was made possible by shooting 31 free throws scoring 20 of them. Although that percentage, 64.5%, could be better, those twenty points were critical. Additionally, they drew 27 fouls, making many of Georgetown’s best players play limited minutes.
On the other hand, Villanova played very clean defense by only fouling eighteen times in forty minutes. Looking at these numbers than you’d think that the Wildcats didn’t play any defense, but they only gave up 65 points to Georgetown. Even more impressive was the big man defense from Eric Paschall, Jermain Samuels, Saddiq Bey, and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree. Villanova’s big men held Georgetown’s starting front court to five points. Most impressive was Jessie Govan being held to zero points and two rebounds while averaging 19.4 points and 8.1 rebounds on the season.
Jessie Govan's performance against Villanova can be summed up with one word: "Yikes". However, that's exactly why it stands out. Jessie's been so consistently good that we've just come to expect greatness from him.https://t.co/Dzjd6kMExs— Thompson’s Towel (@ThompsonsTowel) February 4, 2019
The Hoyas (14-8, 4-5) went 5:45 without a field goal. For the game, they shot 33.8 percent...
A most unusual statistic for the Wildcats came from sophomore forward Jermaine Samuels, who had 15 of his career-high 16 rebounds before he took his first shot of the game — a successful dunk — with 1:02 to play.
Akinjo led Georgetown with 19 points. Senior center Jesse Govan, the team’s leading scorer with a 19.4-point average, did not score in 13 minutes, missing all nine of his attempts from the field, and fouled out with 4:53 remaining.
#BIGEASThoops Freshman of the Week - James Akinjo— #BIGEASThoops (@BIGEASTMBB) February 4, 2019
➡️ Averaged 21.0 points, 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals
➡️ Leads all league freshmen in scoring at 14.1 ppg
➡️ Third time this season earning Freshman of the Week pic.twitter.com/sE2HWzXRwC
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...
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.
McClung was just 2-for-11 from the field and also missed all five of his shots from beyond the arc. It was the first time the freshman guard had failed to score in double digits since Nov. 24...
James Akinjo led the Hoyas (14-8, 4-5) with 19 points. The Hoyas had averaged 83.2 points on the season yet scored no field goals over a 6-minute stretch late in the game.
“I thought we started hunting shots,” Ewing said. “Guys are open, we’ve got to make the right plays.”
That freshman of the year better be going to a Hoya. Our trio the best freshman in the conference hands down— Trey Dickerson (@NLS_TD) February 4, 2019
“They were just really good defensively, really physical—long,” said Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “They did a great job on ball screens, even without Jessie Govan. They were icing ball screens, it goes both ways—they got some foul trouble out of it, but they kept Phil Booth out of it. Just a great game with two really good teams.” ...
“I really credit Georgetown’s defense, I really do,” Wright said. “When you shoot a lot of threes, you’re going to have a game like that. You can’t stop shooting and you can’t be afraid... Once [Colin Gillespie] got hot, Phil [Booth] got going a little bit.” ...
“I thought we took a step back with DePaul, but today [Georgetown]--offensively—they do a lot of great things well. They can win without Jessie Govan scoring big numbers. They get to the foul line a lot, they shoot well from the three, they play at a high pace. So whatever the numbers are, I thought we did a good job today, especially because they’re a really good offensive team.”
Wahab will likely backup former North Carolina State center Omer Yurtseven next year at center with star big man Jesse Govan graduating. Although it is conceivable that Wahab will see some time alongside Yurtseven if Ewing wants to go with a big lineup as 6-foot-7 freshman Josh Leblanc and senior Trey Mourning are manning the power forward position this year. Highly touted freshman Grayson Carter has seen sparse action this year. 2019 recruits 6-foot-11 Malcolm Wilson and 6-foot-11 Timothy Igohoefe could also be in the mix for some minutes. Both Wilson and Igohoefe have signed national letters of intent.
"Villanova, Georgetown Men's Basketball On Schedule, Just Different Ones" https://t.co/j52lB8ME9l— Philadelphia Hoyas (@PhillyHoyas) February 5, 2019
James Akinjo is BIG EAST Freshman of the Week for the 3rd time this season.— Bobby Bancroft (@BobbyBancroft) February 4, 2019
The Hoyas point guard had 23 points in the second half in the win over Xavier and was the leading scorer vs Villanova.
Georgetown plays at Providence on Wednesday
A win would have put Georgetown squarely in the NCAA tournament conversation. But even with a loss, there remains a pathway to playing in the NCAA field for the first time since 2014-15, according to certified bracketologist Russ Steinberg.
”Georgetown is not in a great spot for a tournament bid, but is far from buried with three of it next five game against quadrant 1 competition,” Steinberg said