Villanova Escapes Georgetown, 74-66


Courtesy of Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Justin Moore (above) led the Wildcats with 19 points in the win.

Billy Vinci, Senior Writer

On Senior Night in the Pavilion, Villanova took the lead in the all-time series against Georgetown with a 74-66 victory to improve to 21-6 on the season and 14-3 in the Big East. 

Junior guard Justin Moore led the way with 19 points and six rebounds on 6-for-16 shooting, while senior wing Brandon Slater had 11 points on 5-6 from the field. 

“It’s a great honor to be a Villanova Wildcat for four years and have that senior day,” Slater said. “It was a big moment for me and my family. More importantly I wanted to play hard for my teammates and my coaches, that’s what we try to do.” 

Senior Caleb Daniels and redshirt sophomore Eric Dixon were the other two Wildcats to finish in double digits. Daniels had 10 points on 4-10 shooting and grabbed four rebounds, while Dixon had 10 of his own on 4-5 shooting in just 21 minutes. 

As a team, the Wildcats shot 24-55 (43.6%) from the field and 9-28 (32.1%) from three. The Hoyas finished at 24-56 (42.9%) from the field and 8-25 (32%) from three. 

“A Big East battle, man. It certainly wasn’t pretty. Give them a lot of credit, those guys are playing really hard. They’re tenacious, they’re physical,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “They’re sticking together and really playing well.” 

Offense was hard to come by in the first ten minutes of the game, as the score was just 16-5 in favor of Villanova. Things picked up a bit after a three pointer from graduate guard Kaiden Rice made the score 16-8. After starting 0-6 from three as a team, the Hoyas made three of their next six, including two from graduate guard Donald Carey. 

The Hoyas got within one point at 19-18 with just over four minutes to go in the half, but Slater responded with a three of his own to expand the lead. Georgetown remained within six of the ‘Cats, but freshman guard Aminu Mohammed was called for a foul on graduate wing Jermaine Samuels, and was called for a technical foul after arguing. Four made throws, two for Smauels and two for Gillespie, put the ‘Cats up 28-18. 

Villanova was able to keep the lead at double digits into the half, owning a 32-22 advantage after 20 minutes.

The Hoyas shot 3-14 (21.4%) from three in the first half, and just 8-29 (27.6%) from the field. Carey led the way with 11 points on 2-6 shooting from three. The Wildcats shot 3-15 (20%) from three and 8-26 (30.8%) from the field. Gillespie, Samuels and Slater all had seven points. Gillespie added eight rebounds and two assists. 

The start to the second half was much more offensively oriented, especially for the Hoyas, who hit three of their first four attempts from beyond the arc. Moore helped stem the tide for the Wildcats, however, as he scored eight quick points in the second half, including two three pointers. 

“Just staying aggressive, nothing changed,” Moore said about his start to the second half. “I stayed aggressive and my teammates found me in the right spots so I just took the shots that they gave me.” 

The Wildcats lead was cut to just 43-40 with 14:20 to play, but a Slater layup and a Daniels three a few possessions later expanded the lead back to 53-42. 

Georgetown wasn’t done, however, as Carey later knocked in his fourth three to make the ‘Cats lead just 56-53. Five straight points from Daniels gave Villanova an eight point lead, and it would stick until the end of the game. 

Villanova returns to action Tuesday night in Connecticut when they take on the 19-7 UConn Huskies at 8 P.M.