No. 7 Villanova avenges loss with win over No. 24 Georgetown
Villanova wore 1985 throwback uniforms in a nod to its national championship season and played selected highlights from that title game on the big screen.
The Wildcats created a few more for this season's reel against the latest version of a Georgetown team that -- 30 years later -- still could not solve its Big East rival.
Darrun Hilliard scored 15 points and Josh Hart had 13 to help No. 7 Villanova avenge its worst game of the season with a 69-53 win over No. 24 Georgetown on Saturday.
The Hoyas thumped the Wildcats 78-58 in the first game on Jan. 19. In the second matchup of the longtime conference rivals, the Wildcats (21-2, 8-2) raced to a 17-point lead and never looked back in their fourth straight win. They've won eight of nine and have played up to their billing as the preseason Big East favorite.
"They looked like we did last game and they looked like we did," Villanova coach Jay Wright said
Villanova upset Georgetown in the 1985 national championship contest known as "The Perfect Game" and continued to look like a contender to at least make it back to the Final Four for the second time under Wright. The Wildcats hit 12 of 24 3-pointers and led by as many as 24 in their latest romp against a conference rival.
L.J. Peak scored 15 points for the Hoyas (15-8, 7-5). With losses this week to Providence and Villanova, the Hoyas are sure to fall out of the Top 25.
With a packed house of 20,587 at the Wells Fargo Center adding to the big-game feel, the Wildcats quickly squashed any thoughts of a Georgetown sweep. Hilliard converted a four-point play early before the 3-point barrage started.
The Wildcats came in shooting 36 percent from 3-point range and were nailing them with the ease of fastbreak layups. Hilliard and Dylan Ennis hit consecutive 3s for a 12-7 lead that sparked the rout. Ennis hit one for a 10-point lead, Ryan Arcidiacono made it 27-13 with his and the Wildcats finished 7 of 13 in the half.
Wright said the Wildcats stuck with the game plan they had in the first game against the Hoyas. But the Wildcats were focused this time out to execute the Xs and Os that they failed to understand the first time. Wright said he stressed adhering to the scouting -- not revenge -- as the focus.
"We don't look at it as revenge," Hilliard said. "We just take it as our next game."
The Hoyas never got untracked offensively. They missed 7 of 8 3s in the half and received no meaningful production from leading scorers D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (15.8 ppg) and Joshua Smith (11.9). Smith-Rivera was scoreless in the first half and Smith only scored two points on a combined 1 of 6 shooting. They finished just 4 of 11 from the floor for nine points.
"When you play a good defensive team like they are, you're not going to get one pass, two pass, open looks," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "You have to have the discipline to stay with what you're doing. Keep moving, keep executing and hopefully something will open up."
In the first game, Smith-Rivera scored 17 for the Hoyas, who pulled away early with a 17-0 run on the way to a 42-20 halftime lead. Georgetown shot 60 percent in the first half and 51 percent for the game.
"We were trying to be aggressive and we wanted to attack the basketball a lot more," Georgetown guard Jabril Trawick said. "We just didn't bring it like we're supposed to."
With a cold offense, the Hoyas never made a serious attempt at a second-half comeback. The Hoyas missed a whopping 16 of 17 3-point attempts.
Kris Jenkins kept the good times rolling for the Wildcats in the second half. He hit consecutive 3s for a 51-29 lead and made the Wildcats 10 of 18 from 3-point range.
Georgetown: Georgetown opened a stretch of four road games out of the next six. ... The Hoyas shot 30 percent from the floor. With all the misses, they did hold a 39-34 rebounding edge.
Villanova: Wright pulled forward Daniel Ochefu from the starting lineup for a minor academic issue. Ochefu sat out just a few minutes before he entered the game. Hart got the start.
The Big East could be decided in the next week when the Wildcats hit the road to play Providence and Butler. They can create some distance with wins against the next two teams in the standings. "I have no interest in what that says about our team," Wright said.
Georgetown plays Tuesday at Seton Hall.
Villanova plays Wednesday at Providence.