Villanova-Georgetown Preview

Villanova was able to bounce back from last week’s embarrassing defeat, but coach Jay Wright still would like to seem some improvement on the defensive end of the floor.

The ninth-ranked Wildcats look to deal struggling Georgetown a fifth straight defeat while ending a three-game road losing streak in the series Monday night.

Villanova (17-2, 6-1 Big East) held opponents to below 50 percent shooting from the field in 47 straight games before last Monday’s 96-68 loss to Creighton, which shot 56.9 percent – the highest mark for a Wildcats opponent in nearly six years. The defeat caused Villanova to fall five spots in the Top 25

Wright wasn’t pleased with Marquette’s 50.0 percent shooting Saturday, either, but Villanova pulled out a 94-85 overtime victory on the road.

"We were not good defensively," Wright said. "We just outscored them at the end."

James Bell scored a career-high 30 points while Darrun Hilliard II and Ryan Arcidiacono added 20 apiece. Arcidiacono also had a career-high 11 assists in a performance that impressed Wright.

"To have a point guard like that who wants the ball in his hands, makes the right decisions, is big," Wright said. "Ryan missed a couple of foul shots at the end of regulation. There was no doubt of anybody on our team that he would make the next ones. He doesn’t let it affect him. He’s a special player."

Arcidiacono hit two free throws late in regulation, but he fouled Marquette’s Todd Mayo on a 3-point attempt with 4.8 seconds remaining. Mayo hit all three free throws to send the game to overtime.

”I felt good all game so I just wanted the ball in my hands,” said Arcidiacono, who had six points and two assists in OT. ”If we were going to go down, I wanted it to be on my shoulders.”

Villanova had lost eight of nine meetings to Georgetown before a 67-57 win March 6, and it now will look to win its first road game against the Hoyas since Jan. 8, 2007.

Georgetown (11-8, 3-5) is on the verge of its first five-game losing streak since the end of the 2010-11 season after falling 76-63 at Creighton on Saturday. Markel Starks scored 21 points while D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 18.

The Hoyas, who rank ninth in the 10-team Big East in scoring at 71.8 points per game, have shot 37.1 percent over their last three.

"We’re in a bad place and we’ve got to figure out how to get out of this bad place," coach John Thompson III said.

The Hoyas have been without center Joshua Smith, who hasn’t played since Jan. 4 and was declared academically ineligible for the remainder of the season Friday.

Guard Jabril Trawick, another starter, is out indefinitely with a broken jaw suffered Jan. 8 in a loss to Providence.

Georgetown’s bench has been unable to fill those voids, totaling 10 points over the last two contests. The Hoyas rank ninth in the conference in bench scoring at 16.5 points per game.

Thompson knows there’s plenty of time for the Hoyas to turn things around, though.

"We’re not at the halfway point of the conference season yet. We’re eight games into an 18-game season," Thompson said. "We have to figure out adjustments, changes – some big, some small – on how this group is going to win."

Georgetown hasn’t lost three straight at home since Feb. 7-23, 2009.