Villanova Snaps Three Game Skid With 77-73 Win Over Georgetown


Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Cam Whitmore finished a fast-break dunk to extend the Wildcat lead to three with under 30 seconds to play.

Owen Hewitt, Co-Sports Editor

Villanova survived a challenge at home against Georgetown on Monday afternoon, escaping 77-73 after a three from Georgetown’s Brandon Murray fell short with three seconds left to play. Murray’s three ball would have tied the game. Instead, redshirt junior Eric Dixon was sent to the line, where he made one of two to make it a two possession game with under three seconds to play. 

The win improves Villanova to 9-10 on the year and 3-5 in Big East play. 

Five Wildcats reached double figures on the afternoon, with graduate guard Caleb Daniels leading the way with 16. Graduate forward Brandon Slater had 15, freshman guard Mark Armstrong had 14, freshman forward Cam Whitmore had 13 and Dixon had 12. Hoya sophomore guard Primo Spears led the game with 19, while sophomore guard Jordan Riley had a career-high 18.

“I give a lot of credit to our guys,” Villanova head coach Kyle Neptune said. “We were down there in the second half. We’ve been in that spot a few times this year and it hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to. But our guys hung in and it went our way.”

The ‘Cats led the entirety of the first half, though Georgetown kept it close enough to be within striking distance. The ‘Cats constructed a 10-0 run midway through the period to build their lead to 11, but the Hoyas came back with an 8-0 run of their own to cut the lead down to three with just under four minutes to play in the first half. 

Villanova went into the locker room with a four point lead behind eight from Whitmore.

The second half started in favor of the Hoyas, as they went on a 17-7 run over the first six minutes and change. The Hoyas took their first lead of the game and built that lead up to six, which would be their largest of the game. After losing the lead at the 16:27 mark of the first half, the ‘Cats wouldn’t regain an advantage until the clock hit 5:42. From there, the game stayed within five, with the lead changing hands twice and two ties in the last three minutes.

The game went down to the wire. Slater turned the ball over on a traveling violation with thirty seconds left to play, but forced a steal on the ensuing possession and passed the ball ahead to Whitmore who threw it down to give the ‘Cats a three point lead.

“We tell our guys, offense is offense,” Neptune said. “We’ve got to be able to get stops. We’re a work in progress in that regard, and we’ve got to just continue to get better. Things are going to happen on offense. You’re going to make shots, you’re going to miss shots, if teams are good they try and take certain things away. We scored 77 points, we shot it pretty well, but we’ve got to continue to get better on the defensive end.”

On the next possession, Villanova came up with a stop on a designed inbound play. Dixon collected the rebound, and hit a free throw to seal the game. Villanova took 31 shots from the charity stripe, making 23 of them. 

“When you give a team 31 free throws, it’s hard to beat [them].” Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing said. “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

Villanova will be back in action Friday, as it takes on St. John’s at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Red Storm are coming off an 11-point victory against UConn, ranked No. 6 in the nation at the time. The game against the Red Storm is scheduled to tip at 7 P.M. on FS1.