No. 4 Villanova vies for share of Big East title, hosts Georgetown (Mar 02, 2018)

March 2, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- Fourth-ranked Villanova will attempt to win its 14th Big East game of the season and potentially tie Xavier for first place on Saturday when it faces Georgetown in the regular-season home finale at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Wildcats (26-4, 13-4) won a thriller in overtime 69-68 on Wednesday at Seton Hall to give themselves a shot at sharing the Big East title. To make that happen, Villanova will need Xavier (26-4, 14-3) to lose at DePaul on Saturday.

Mikal Bridges led the way for Villanova with 23 points and 10 rebounds while National Player of the Year candidate Jalen Brunson scored 14 points. Most impressive was the fact that Brunson scored 12 of those points in the waning minutes of regulation and overtime when the Wildcats needed baskets.

"My teammates have confidence in me at all times. So does my coach and so do I," Brunson told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I keep the same cool, just not really worry about what happened in the past, keep moving on."

"That's the sign of a great player," Villanova head coach Jay Wright added. "He's not afraid to fail. He loves having the pressure on his shoulders. That's what the great ones do. That's was vintage Jalen Brunson -- no fear of failure."

Villanova shot just 36 percent but managed to come away with a victory over the Pirates.

"That was an old-fashioned Big East rock fight," Wright said. "I would rather not have played in a game like that but we needed a game like that where we couldn't make shots. Our defense kept us in it."

With a victory over Georgetown, Wright will secure his 413rd career victory on the Main Line. The milestone win would tie Wright with Alexander Severance, who compiled 413 victories from 1936-61.

Villanova crushed Georgetown 88-56 on Jan. 17, going 17 of 33 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Georgetown lost a hard-fought battle in overtime to Marquette, 90-86, in its most recent game on Monday.

Jessie Govan paced the Hoyas (15-13, 5-12) with 25 points and nine rebounds while freshman guard Jahvon Blair added 16 points.

"All year long we have been a pretty good defensive team," Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing told the athletic department's website. "It just wasn't there. And even on the boards -- we should've dominated on the boards and we did not."

Following impressive wins against Seton Hall at home and on the road at Butler, the Hoyas have now lost three consecutive games to Xavier, Providence and Marquette. It has been a rocky finish after such a promising start to the season with eight straight wins.

Govan narrowly missed a double-double against the Golden Eagles, though he has been Georgetown's clutch player all season. Govan has 14 double-doubles, which ranks second in the Big East behind only Seton Hall's Angel Delgado. They are the only two players in the league to average double-doubles.

Govan is also the 20th player in school history to score at least 100 points and grab at least 500 rebounds.



share story