No. 2 Villanova may have already clinched its fourth straight Big East regular season title and the No. 1 seed for the Big East Tournament next week, but it showed that those two accomplishments aren’t any reasons to take it easy.
Saturday’s regular season finale was a mere formality, as the Wildcats prepare for postseason play, but a game against blood rival Georgetown provided a little more meaning.
But ask Josh Hart and he’ll tell you otherwise, about his homecoming of sorts.
“Regular game, man,” Hart said. “Regular game.”
In their previous meeting on Feb. 8, Georgetown staged a last-minute rally, but this time around Villanova left no doubt in a 81-55 win over the Hoyas.
After a slow start, the Wildcats gained some separation from a 22-13 run over the final 10 minutes of the first half to take a 38-28 lead going into halftime.
The Hoyas emerged out of the break a completely new team, capitalizing on another slow Villanova start to the half.
Georgetown used a 7-1 run sparked by Rodney Pryor to trim the Villanova lead down to just four.
Unfortunately for the Hoyas, that would be the closest they would get to catching the Wildcats.
The Hoyas went cold, while the Wildcats heated up behind the play of DMV-area seniors, Hart and Kris Jenkins.
The Wildcat forward tandem haunted Georgetown one last time, in what might have been their final game against the Hoyas. They were both Georgetown recruits out of high school, and were snubbed by the program. Jenkins was never offered, and Georgetown didn’t take Hart.
Hart and Jenkins dealt a majority of the damage in the final regular season game of their careers. Hart scored a game-high 21 points, adding six rebounds, four assists and three steals to his performance. As for Jenkins, he was right behind Hart with 19 points.
Hart delivered back-to-back threes with approximately seven minutes remaining to push the Wildcat lead into double figures. From there, Villanova just continued to pour it on to put the game well out of reach.
“Our defense disappeared,” said Georgetown coach John Thompson III, who blamed his team’s 20 turnovers for leading to a blowout loss “Josh hit those two 3’s, and we didn’t bounce back.”
Aside from Jenkins and Hart, two other Wildcats breached double figures–Jalen Brunson (17 points) and Mikal Bridges (13).
It was also the first game back for Darryl Reynolds, who missed the last five games due to a rib injury. He came off the bench and logged 27 minutes, racking up seven rebounds and a pair of steals.
“It’s the first time we’ve really been able to play eight guys since the beginning of the year,” Hart said. “It’s definitely great to get D-Rey back, and we were able to kind of cut down on some of the minutes.”
Rodney Pryor led the Hoyas with 21 points. The graduate transfer out of Robert Morris was the only one who seemed to get it going for Georgetown, as he was the only one to break double figures.
The Wildcats handed the Hoyas their fifth straight loss to drop them to 14-17.
Meanwhile, Villanova finishes the regular season 28-3, the second-best record in program history.
With the top seed, the ‘Cats will get a bye to the quarterfinals, where they will play the winner of the 8-9 seed matchup between St. John’s and Georgetown on Thursday. Tip-off is at 12 p.m.