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SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS: Georgetown Gives Away Late Lead to Wildcats, 77-73

Hoyas hold lead for 10+ minutes late in second

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Villanova Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Your fighting Hoyas of Georgetown (5-14, 0-8) dropped another game to a BIG EAST foe (28th consecutive) when they lost to the Villanova Wildcats (9-10, 3-5) on MLK Day afternoon. Losing 77-73, the Hoyas gave their formidable rivals all they could handle for a good 30-35+ minutes, including leading for 10 minutes. Georgetown was down four point at intermission but led the game 71-69 with 2:22 left.

Georgetown was led by Primo Spears with 19 points (8-13 FG, 0-1 3PT) and starter Jordan Riley (8-12 FG, 2-3 FG) with 18 points. The Hoyas shot 28-52 from the field (15-25 in the second) and Villanova was 23-47 shooting on the floor (8-16 3PT).

Before diving too deep into the weeds, I think it’s important to point out that Georgetown’s last game was played at home on 1/10 and Villanova was coming off a road loss at Butler on Friday. Villanova has been in uncharted territory the last two weeks with a rough start to conference play, and certainly saw the winless Hoyas as a good game to get back on track. Yet this matchup stayed close almost buzzer to buzzer.

For the first 6-7 minutes of game time the two teams battled each other trading basket for basket. The Hoyas welcomed the return of star transfer Brandon Murray (10 PTS, 5, REB, 1 AST), but it was New York Native Jordan Riley (18 PTS, 6 REB, 2-3 3FG) who stole the show early with a nice putback dunk that would be followed up with a pair of mid range jumpers.

Unfortunately, the theme of the day for the Hoyas was again “self-inflicted wounds.” Starting point guard Primo Spears turned in an overall nice outing offensively (19 PTS, 7 AST, 3 REB), but with 7 of 13 (back-breaking) turnovers, the Hoyas were constantly taking two steps forward and one step back. Primo does a lot of things really well, but he also has about 3-4 moments a game where you want to go crazy…today there were a few more.

In the last 6 minutes of the first half, the Hoyas would work there way to a 14-4 scoring run, featuring a nice alley-oop dunk from Spears to Akok Akok (4 PTS, 3 REB). What kills me is after playing solid defense with a minute to go, a wild pass by Murray gave Nova the ball with 15 seconds left, ending in a 33-37 Villanova lead at halftime.

Admittedly, I was rather pleased with the halftime score, as I feared the Wildcats would have been beating GU in the post wth senior Eric Dixon, who did not have his best outing. Qudus Wahab (6PTS, 3REB, 1 STL) and Bradley Ezewiro had some bright spots containing damage in the paint, but ultimately found themselves in foul trouble that would prove costly down the stretch.

Things picked up quickly in the second half as the Hoyas saw their sophomore wing Jordan Riley catch fire. A three pointer followed by another pair of buckets got the team fired up as they found themselves tied at 42 a piece, which would quickly be followed by an Akok mid-range jumper of an inbound play to give the Hoyas a 44-42 lead.

The Hoyas would continue to mount the pressure on Villanova as they put together a 17-4 run over 7 minutes, putting the score at 52-46 Georgetown. Like clockwork though, the problems would begin to pile up for the Hoyas.

Turnovers and fouls slowly chipped away at the Hoyas momentum over the remainder of the second half that would cost the Hoyas their lead with a two minutes to go.

Georgetown had a chance to win the game with 30 seconds left, down 1 and had two failed drives by Murray and Spears before a turnover for a breakaway dunk.

Despite a number of costly Villanova turnovers on the other end Georgetown could not capitalize on their opportunities, putting Nova on the line with a 3 point lead in the last minute of the game.

Down three with seconds left, a short three point attempt for Murray in an inbounds from Spears sealed the game for the Wildcats. The glimpses of ball movement and decent defense of 10+ minutes of the second half gave way to hero ball and fouling. Again.

Your Georgetown Hoyas head to Xavier on Saturday.