By Sean Kennedy
Villanova 65, Georgetown 60
It wasn’t pretty but Jay Wright’s squad got the job done on the road, pulling away from Georgetown in the final minutes to move to 7-1 in conference play, tied with Creighton for top honors. The game was extremely sloppy by both sides, especially in the first half as the Hoyas, as expected, struggling against the Villanova pressure with 13 turnovers in those first 20 minutes. The Wildcats weren’t making things that much easier on themselves as they had 8 of their own to that point, including some unforced traveling calls and other mental mistakes.
James Bell was the most active Wildcat on the defensive end with 4 steals, while also leading the team with 16 points, including a three-pointer with just outside of three minutes remaining that extended the Villanova lead to 5 and proved to be the back-breaker. Markel Starks led the way for the Hoyas with 20 points and 5 assists (although he did struggle with 5 turnovers), but fellow backcourt standout D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera had a very off night, missing all 6 of his three-point attempts and shooting just 2 of 11 overall for 8 points. Where the Wildcats really separated themselves from Georgetown was at the charity stripe, holding a 28-9 advantage in trips to the line. As usual, JayVaughn Pinkston was prominent in that area, making 8 of his 10 tries; he and Daniel Ochefu each had 12 points for Villanova. The Wildcats will finish out a three-game road stretch a bit closer to home as they head to North Philly to take on Temple in their final out of conference and Big 5 contest of the season this weekend.