Wearing the 1985 jerseys from the fateful April 1st night wasn’t enough for Villanova to show its dominance over rival Georgetown.
The Wildcats made a harsh opening statement that made it difficult for the Hoyas to answer, as Villanova established supremacy for at least another year over its rivals.
Villanova used a hot start to fuel a 84-71 victory for Georgetown.
“We are at the time of the season where it’s important for our guys to focus in on each game,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “That’s what it was, it was pure focus.”
The Wildcats outscored the Hoyas 27-6 in the first nine minutes of the game. Villanova had the hot hand early, and it seemed like every shot was falling through. Whether it was in the paint or outside the arc, it didn’t matter, as Villanova found its offensive rhythm early.
While Georgetown was able to score the first basket of the game, the Hoyas couldn’t break Villanova’s smooth ball movement that resulted in optimal shot attempts.
The Wildcats often heard the sound of nylon flowing as the ball plopped through, but the same couldn’t be said for the Hoyas, as they were met with the sounds of the ball clanking off the rim.
During that opening nine minute stretch, the Hoyas were 3-for-12 on the floor and turned the ball over five times to put themselves in a hole early.
Josh Hart topped off the hot start with a dunk that set the crowded Wells Fargo Center into a frenzy.
As the game went on, Villanova cooled off but was still able to maintain the pace.
Kris Jenkins drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the finishing touches on a strong first half for Villanova. As a result, the Wildcats took a 46-27 lead over the Hoyas going into halftime.
The second half appeared to be more of the same, until some role reversal came into play.
Midway through the second half, Georgetown went on a 10-0 run to trim Villanova’s lead down to just 11. Marcus Derrickson sparked and had the last few points of the streak before Wright called for a time out.
Villanova responded with a Hart layup to end the run. From there, the Wildcats were able to maintain their lead and do enough to keep the Hoyas away.
“They just kept battling, give them a lot of credit,” Wright said.
Four different Wildcats finished in double figures– Hart, Jenkins, Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu. Hart had a team-high 18 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Jenkins finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Arcidiacono chipped in 16 points, five boards, and five assists. Ochefu added 10 points and six rebounds.
For Georgetown, L.J. Peak led the way with 31 points off of 10-of-16 shooting. Derrickson added 14 points and seven rebounds. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera had seven points (1-of-11 shooting), seven rebounds, and seven assists before fouling out late in the second half.
Now, with the regular season behind them, the Wildcats have their eyes set on New York. They will try to defend their title at Madison Square Garden next week.
However, the ‘Cats won’t look too far ahead. Not to New York and not even later in March.
“We always prepare for one day at time, one game at a time,” Arcidiacono said.
They will look forward to that next practice, and the preparation that goes into these postseason tournaments.
“We just have to focus on getting better,” Hart said. “We can’t be over confident, we can’t be complacent. There are a lot of things we can get better at. We just have to focus on going to work everyday, sticking to our core values.”