MBB Recap: ‘Nova falls to 4-7 in Big East after loss to Hoyas



Kyle Scudilla

A controversial, late-game foul call gave Villanova its first loss of the season.

Now, a similar situation has led to their most devastating loss, a 55-53 defeat at the hands of the Georgetown Hoyas.

Despite shooting just 24.6 percent against Georgetown (20-3, 10-2 Big East), Villanova’s second-half comeback from 12 points down in the final nine minutes tied the game at 53-53. The ‘Cats (14-9, 4-7) even had the fate of the game in the hands of Scottie Reynolds, whose 24 points were the biggest reasons they had a chance to win on a night where their shooting was colder than Tuesday’s snow and hail storm.

Reynolds drove the right side of the lane toward the basket looking to score in the same fashion he did with 1:08 remaining to tie the game. Jeremiah Rivers played Reynolds excellently in the man-to-man, forcing Reynolds away from the hoop and toward the baseline, cutting off the Villanova guard and putting the ball up for grabs. After the ball was knocked free with just seconds remaining, Georgetown’s Jonathan Wallace was the man on the spot to pick up the ball. Wallace sprinted down the left sideline and was met by Corey Stokes. The two made contact about 70 feet from the basket and Wallace’s left foot landed near the sideline, when all of a sudden, a whistle pierced the air at the Verizon Center with just one-tenth of a second remaining on the game clock.

“At first I thought I stepped out of bounds because I was trying to make a play with the time running down,” Wallace said. “But I did kind of [feel a] nudge when I was trying to turn the corner.”

The foul, Stokes’ fifth and the game’s 48th, sent Wallace to the line where he buried both free throws to win the game for the conference-leading Hoyas.

“I can’t complain about it because I didn’t see it,” Jay Wright said.

“I’m glad it went our way,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said.

The game, a two-point decision decided with 0.1 seconds remaining, could have major ramifications on the Big East standings. A win would have improved Villanova to 5-6 in the conference and given their postseason resumé a much-needed signature win. Instead, the loss dropped them into a tie with Providence and St. John’s for 12th in the conference, with only the top 12 teams making the Big East’s conference tournament.

On Tuesday, Big East Coordinator of Officials Art Hyland stood by referee Bob Donato’s call.

“There is no force-out rule and if [Wallace] was forced out, he was either bumped for a foul or he stepped out of bounds,” he said. “When a kid is bumped and goes out of bounds, you have to make a call. It’s a judgment call.”

Villanova’s poor shooting, a huge problem during their five-game losing streak, reared its ugly head once again in Washington D.C. The Wildcats missed all 13 of their second half 3-point attempts and shot 13 percent (3-for-23) from the outside for the game.

Corey Fisher went just 1-for-16 from the field for the Wildcats, and shot an abysmal 4-for-31 in the second half.

The Wildcats also struggled with foul trouble once again, with Stokes, Dwayne Anderson and Casiem Drummond all fouling out.

“We played good defense and they still found a way to win the game,” Wright said. “That’s what great teams do.”

With the victory, Georgetown defeated ‘Nova for the first time ever at the Verizon Center. The Wildcats had won the previous six contests.