No. 9 Villanova holds off Georgetown

Villanova forward JayVaughn Pinkston tries to shoot between Georgetown guards Jabril Trawick and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Villanova forward JayVaughn Pinkston tries to shoot between Georgetown guards Jabril Trawick and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Posted: January 29, 2014

WASHINGTON - Jay Wright had a relieved look on his face as he walked into the interview room.

Villanova had just escaped with its fifth straight road win, beating Georgetown, 65-60, before 11,204 at the Verizon Center.

"That was old-school Big East, man. That was fun," Wright said.

The Wildcats' coach had coaxed a win when his three leading scorers, JayVaughn Pinkston, James Bell, and Darrun Hilliard all had subpar nights.

"That was tough. That was physical," Wright said. "That's a good win against a good, tough team."

Villanova (18-2, 7-1 Big East) overcame horrible shooting and lots of turnovers to somehow prevail against seemingly overmatched Georgetown (11-9, 3-6). The Hoyas have lost five in a row, their longest skid in nearly three years.

It wasn't until Bell hit a three-pointer with 3 minutes, 31 seconds to play to give the Wildcats a 59-54 lead that Villanova looked in command.

Bell was just 4 for 11, but he didn't come undone.

"You've got to keep shooting," Bell said. "I feel like all of them are going in - even the ones that missed."

Markel Starks made a jumper with 2:07 to play that cut the lead to 61-58, but the Wildcats hung on. Starks committed an offensive foul with just under 35 seconds to play, and a second later, Tony Chennault hit one of two free throws.

Georgetown's Jabril Trawick missed consecutive field goals, and with 14.8 seconds to play, Pinkston hit one of two foul shots. With 5.8 seconds left, he secured the game with two more free throws.

Villanova, which dropped to No. 9 after a lopsided loss to Creighton last week, struggled before pulling out a rugged overtime win at Marquette on Saturday.

"When you win a couple of games and things are going good and then you get smacked in the face, how you respond is important," Wright said.

His team has won two straight.

"We haven't been pretty in either one of them, but we found a way," Wright said.

While the Wildcats missed their first three shots, Georgetown made three of four to take an 8-0 lead in the first 21/2 minutes. Villanova quickly answered, scoring nine straight.

Ryan Arcidiacono made two straight three-pointers to give the Wildcats a 19-12 lead with about 111/2 minutes to play in the first half. Villanova led the rest of the half even though it allowed the Hoyas to shoot 55 percent. The Wildcats led by 35-30 at the break, thanks to 13 Georgetown turnovers.

The Hoyas tied the score early in the second half, at 35, 37, and 39, and took a 41-40 lead on Starks' two free throws with 14:42 to play.

Villanova made just one of seven field goals to start the second half, but Bell's three-pointer gave the Wildcats a momentary 43-41 lead with 12:50 to play before Aaron Bowen's dunk tied it once again at 43.

Chennault's layup midway through the half gave Villanova a 48-46 lead and the Wildcats increased the advantage to 55-50 on Hilliard's layup with just over seven minutes to play.

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