Men’s hoops plagued by turnovers in loss to Hoyas



Greg Habeeb

The Villanova Wildcats found out the hard way that no matter where the polls have you ranked, it is tough to beat Georgetown on their home floor, and even tougher when you spot the Hoyas 26 points.

Georgetown completely overmatched the ’Cats on Monday night, using an 18-1 first half run to cruise to a 78-58 victory, providing ’Nova with their second loss of the season.

The loss drops the Wildcats to 17-2 on the season (4-2 Big East), while the Hoyas improve to 13-6 (5-1 Big East). 

Junior guard Ryan Arcidiacono was one of the few bright spots for the Wildcats, scoring 16 points while netting four three pointers. 

The Hoyas were led by a pair of 17-point performances from junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and freshman forward Isaac Copeland. Senior guard Jabril Trawick, a Philadephia native, chipped in with 10 points of his own.

Villanova dug themselves into a deep hole early on, failing to show up on either end of the floor in the first period of play.

The Wildcats were unable to make a field goal for the first six minutes of the game and made only six shots total while shooting 27.3 percent from the field in the opening half. 

While this was due in no small part to terrific defensive rotations by the Hoyas, it was facilitated by uncharacteristically careless offensive play from Villanova. 

’Nova came into the contest averaging just 10.8 turnovers per game. They nearly eclipsed that mark in the initial period, coughing up possession 10 times in the first 20 minutes. 

The Wildcats finished with 17 turnovers, nearly triple their total number of assisted baskets.  The Wildcats’ six assists were 11 below their season average.

Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright acknowledged that his team’s inefficiency was a large part of the lopsided defeat. 

“It was sloppy, you know, the turnovers, even defensively missing some assignments, you’re not going to overcome that against these guys,” he said. 

The Hoyas capitalized on Villanova’s inability to execute offensively, antagonizing the Wildcat ball handlers into both forced and unforced errors, only some of which made it into the final box score. 

“They had really good individual one-on-one defenders,” Wright said. 

 “I thought we didn’t pass the ball to each other. It wasn’t selfishness, it was kind of thinking we got by them when we didn’t,” he added.

The tone was set  five and a half minutes into the game when Wildcats’ senior forward Jayvaughn Pinkston was stripped  by Trawick, who found Smith-Rivera for a transition three pointer to give the Hoyas an 11-4 lead. 

The steal was one of four on the night for Trawick, while the turnover was one of Pinkston’s team high six giveaways.

“Their defense created a lot of turnovers, and those turnovers led to a lot of breakout baskets. They’re very good in transition,” Wright said.

Georgetown possessed none of their opponent’s timidity when they had the ball, aggressively attacking the rim and stepping confidently into jumpers. 

As a result, the Hoyas shot 65 percent from the field and got to the line 12 times in the first half.

The Wildcats battled back to pull within two after an Arcidiacono jumper made the score 13-11, but Georgetown responded with an 18-1 run spanning nearly eight minutes to seize control of the action. 

By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, the Wildcats trailed 42-20, a 22-point deficit that felt more like a 222 point discrepancy.

Georgetown center Joshua Smith was highly effective in his 24 minutes. In addition to his 9 points and 8 rebounds, Smith’s size and strength down low caused problems for Villanova junior forward Daniel Ochefu on both ends of the court, while his ability to find teammates cutting to the basket broke down the Wildcat defense.

Smith also used his weight advantage to put Ochefu in foul trouble while rendering Pinkston useless offensively, exposing one of Villanova’s weaknesses: lack of depth inside.

The Wildcats trailed by as much as 26, though they managed to cut the lead to 12 with 9:38 to play on an Arcidiacono three pointer.  However, Georgetown was able to stave off the comeback bid, and managed to push the lead back to 20 by the end of the game. 

Though Georgetown entered the game scoring at a less efficient rate against zone defense, Wright elected to stick with a man to man attack, especially once ’Nova fell into an early hole.

“I didn’t want to take away our aggressiveness,” Wright said.

Wright pointed out that at the end of the day, Georgetown simply outplayed the Wildcats from wire to wire. 

“From start to finish they were outstanding, they just played a lot better than us tonight,” Wright said. 

“We’ve got to go back to work and keep getting better; thank God we have time, it’s still early in the season.”