With just over four minutes left in the game, senior guard Jahvon Blair made a layup to cut Villanova’s lead to 1 point. Despite this promising comeback, Georgetown could not take the lead and ultimately lost by a double-digit margin. No. 5 Villanova ended the game on a 14-5 run, snapping Georgetown’s two-game win streak in the process.
Coming off their biggest win of the season against No. 15 Creighton, the Hoyas (5-9, 3-6 Big East) could not pull off another upset, falling to the Wildcats (12-2, 7-1 Big East) 84-74 on the road. Villanova relied on its trademark ball movement, racking up 21 assists on its 27 field goals; senior forward Jermaine Samuels was the leader on the day, racking up a career-high 32 points. Meanwhile, Georgetown had a balanced attack, with four players scoring 12 points or more. A 10-point loss may look bad on paper, but the Hoyas hung tough against one of the best teams in the nation.
Sophomore center Qudus Wahab looked dominant early on, scoring the Hoyas’ first 4 points before quickly getting into foul trouble. He finished the half with 8 points and went 4-for-4 from the field. Even without much production in the first half from star sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, the Wildcats raced out to a 30-20 lead with 8:50 left in the half.
Perfect three-point shooting from Samuels was key, while Blair kept Georgetown within striking distance with 10 points in the first half. Down by 10 points as halftime approached, the Hoyas could have crumbled, but instead, they held the Wildcats to 7 points over the final 8:50 and cut the lead to 2 points by the end of the half. Graduate forward Chudier Bile added energy and 7 points in the first half, continuing his stretch of games filled with hustle plays and offensive production.
The second half began with more offense. Villanova could not guard Wahab, who scored a quick 7 points to start the half. Despite this initial success, Georgetown had trouble finding Wahab the rest of the afternoon; he scored only 2 points over the final 15:44. The game remained even until the final four minutes, as the Hoyas’ balanced attack kept pace with a Wildcats team led by a strong second half from Samuels and Robinson-Earl. The difference in the game came near the end when Villanova continued to hit clutch shots, while Georgetown did not.
On the day, the Wildcats shot a scorching 50% from the three-point line, which came back to bite the Hoyas late. With 3:12 left, Robinson-Earl found junior guard Caleb Daniels for a wide-open three-pointer that stretched the Villanova lead to 6 points. With just over two minutes left, junior forward Cole Swider drained the dagger, hitting another three-pointer to extend the Villanova lead to 7 points. Georgetown could not keep up and ultimately lost the game.
Samuels had an impressive game, but he was not the reason for the Hoyas’ loss, according to Georgetown Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85). Instead, Ewing blamed the Wildcats’ offensive rebounds and the Hoyas’ turnovers as culprits.
“Every game we’ve lost, we’ve had opportunities to win,” Ewing said in a post-game press conference.
Even though Georgetown could not pull this one out late, it was the third straight game in which the Hoyas played a full 40 minutes strong. Before the Hoyas’ COVID-19 layoff, they were liable to play one great half and one terrible one. Now, it looks like they are becoming more consistent.
“We have grown a lot from the first day,” Ewing said. “We are going to continue to get better.”
If there is ever a time for Georgetown to start putting it all together, it is the stretch run of this season. Regardless of this result, the Hoyas’ team is trending in the right direction at the right time. The Hoyas will be back in action Feb. 13 against the Butler Bulldogs in McDonough Arena. Tipoff will be at 1:30 p.m. EST.