Hoyas thumped at Villanova, NCAA hopes on edge

Hoyas thumped at Villanova, NCAA hopes on edge
March 8, 2014, 4:30 pm
Share This Post

Recap: Hopefully members of the NCAA Tournament selection committee didn't sneak a peek at Georgetown's 77-59 loss at No. 6 Villanova on Saturday afternoon. The only thing uglier than the final score was how the Hoyas played. 

As with many of Georgetown's defeats this season, foul trouble and turnovers proved costly even though the team made shots. In this case, with a chance to tally a big win for their postseason push, those issues put the Hoyas (17-13, 8-10 Big East) on the defensive from the start. 

Markel Starks scored 20 points, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 14 and Aaron Bowen 13 for Georgetown, which shot well over 50 percent from the field for most of the game However, the Hoyas never led and committed 18 turnovers, matching their Big East high this season. That's the same amount they had in January's 65-60 home loss to the Wildcats. 

Jabril Trawick and Starks each picked up three fouls in the first half, giving Villanova more than enough opportunity to pull away. Mikael Hopkins fouled out after getting whistled for five fouls in the second half. 

The Big East champion Wildcats (28-3, 16-2) took control with a 14-3 run late in the first half - Starks and Trawick sat for most of that stretch - and led 42-29 at halftime. 

Darrun Hillard led five double-digit scorers with 19 points and swiped three of Villanova's 14 steals.

Georgetown committed five turnovers and had five fouls inside the opening five minutes. The Hoyas only trailed 28-24 with 6:57 left in the first half, but that early stretch set the tone for what would follow. Villanova's aggressive defenders consistently jumped passing lanes or forced suspect decisions.

The Hoyas never pulled closer than 11 points in the second half and trailed by 21 midway through the second.

Georgetown finished the Big East regular season with a losing record for the second time in 10 seasons under coach John Thompson III (2008-09).

[RELATED: LIVE updates from the CAA tournament in Baltimore]

Big pictureGeorgetown is the seventh seed for next week's Big East Tournament and will open play against either Butler or DePaul in the first round on Wednesday. If the Bulldogs defeat Seton Hall on Saturday, the Hoyas face DePaul.

As for the NCAA Tournament, the selection committee hasn't let me in on their thoughts, so we're left to speculate. Georgetown has five wins over teams in the RPI top 50, more than just about anyone on the bubble, not to mention squads currently ranked in the AP top 25. Tack on another victory over No. 2 seed Creighton in the quarterfinals, perhaps that's enough. There are also ugly losses to Northeastern plus two to Seton Hall that will be tough to overlook.

Key stat: We could look at several numbers here seeing as the Wildcats topped the Hoyas in points of turnovers (22-15), points in the paint (32-20), and fast break points (11-6). Instead of those stats, let's focus on the free throw shooting.

The final numbers were close, but the second time this season, Villanova took control from the line. The Wildcats attempted 12 free throws before the Hoyas took their first. Jabril Trawick's trip to the line with 15:26 remaining in the game was the first by a Georgetown starter.

In two head-to-head games this season, the Wildcats attempted 56 free throws while the Hoyas took 31.

Villanova: The Wildcats locked up their first outright Big East title since 1982 in Thursday's win at Xavier. Tacking on the latest victory improves their chances of a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova enters next week's Big East Tournament as the clear favorite - unless Creighton also reaches the final. The Bluejays swept the head-to-head regular season series.

1st half: It's not often a team shoots 58 percent in a half and trails at the end of it by 13 points.

Georgetown struggled in nearly every aspect yet stayed close by starting 10 of 15 from the field, including Starks' jumper to pull closer at 28-24 with 6:57 left. However, the senior guard picked up his third foul just 19 seconds later. Thompson actually kept Starks on the court for a bit before eventually sitting him along with Trawick. With only Smith-Rivera and four reserves from there, Georgetown slowly, painfully fell back.

Odds and ends: JayVaughn Pinkston scored 13 for Villanova on 5 of 6 shooting from the field. ...Starks and Smith-RIvera each crossed the 500-point threshold for the season on Saturday. The backcourt pair became the second set of teammates under Thompson to each score 500 in a season since Austin Freeman and Greg Monroe in 2009-10.