Instant Replay: No. 2 Villanova 75, Georgetown 64

Instant Replay: No. 2 Villanova 75, Georgetown 64


VILLANOVA, Pa. — It was a problem against Providence and happened again Saturday against St. John’s. Villanova’s inability to close out opponents was becoming a concern.

Surely, after a largely dominant first half and early 17-point lead in the second half, the demons were gone.

Think again. 

The Wildcats, who led, 43-28, at halftime but shot 9 of 29 from the floor in the second half, allowed Georgetown to turn that 17-point lead into a two-point lead before holding on — just barely — for a 75-64 win at the Pavilion Tuesday night.

And leave it to Josh Hart to put the game away.

The Player of the Year candidate had missed his first seven shots in the second half after scoring 17 first-half points. But with the Hoyas within four, Hart stung a trey from the top of the key to give Villanova a 66-59 lead with 1:20 to go, all but putting the game away, finally.

Hart, who later took a steal and went coast to coast for a layup, led all scorers with 25 points. Donte DiVincenzo scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half and also added six rebounds. Mikal Bridges, with a late dunk, got into double figures with 11 points. 

L.J. Peak led Georgetown with 21 points, 18 of which came in the second half. Rodney Pryor added 20 and nine rebounds.

Turning point
Hart’s three-pointer was the key play.

By the numbers
• Jay Wright is now one win shy of 500 for his career. At Villanova, Wright has amassed 377 wins.

• Villanova has won four straight against the Hoyas, including last year’s Big East Tournament. Georgetown now leads the all-time series, 43-36. Wright improved to 14-11 against the Hoyas.

• The matchup was the first time the two teams played at the Pavilion since 2006.

• After scoring just five points in the first 5½ minutes, Villanova closed the final 14½ minutes of the first half outscoring Georgetown, 38-19.

• The Wildcats missed all eight of their attempts from beyond the arc in the second half before Hart’s key three.

• A 23-11 Georgetown run got the Hoyas to within two, 60-58, with 3:51 to go.

• Jalen Brunson shot 2 of 11 from the field on the night and had four assists.

What it means
Villanova, which came in at No. 2 in the AP Poll this week, is now 23-2 and 10-2 in the Big East. 

The Wildcats will need to get better closing out games with a tough stretch coming up.

The Process
Sixers center Joel Embiid was in attendance. And, unsurprisingly, the rookie was serenaded with “Trust the Process” chants from the Villanova student section. 

Travel incident
Georgetown ran into a bit of trouble on its ride north from the nation’s capital. The bus carrying the Hoyas was involved in an accident on I-95 North in Maryland (see story). There were no major injuries to come from the incident but reserve guard Tre Campbell missed the game Tuesday with a right knee injury. Coach John Thompson III was also limping a bit on the sideline.

What’s next
There are just six games remaining in the regular season for Villanova. The Wildcats begin a stretch of three road games with a trip to Cincinnati to play No. 24 Xavier on Saturday before heading to Chicago to play DePaul Monday.

Villanova narrowly squeaked by DePaul in late December and blew out Xavier by 25 on Jan. 10.

The road swing finishes next Saturday at Seton Hall, which Villanova bested, 76-46, in mid-January. 

Sports Uncovered Podcast: How to listen to episode on Oregon football's uniform revolution

NBC Sports

Sports Uncovered Podcast: How to listen to episode on Oregon football's uniform revolution

Forget about Chip Kelly for a second: When you think of the University of Oregon, you probably think of their uniforms.

Each season, the Ducks push jersey and helmet designs to new heights, and their trailblazing influence has trickled down throughout college athletics. It all started in the 1990s, when Oregon decided to get crazy - and it worked.

In the second episode of NBC Sports' "Sports Uncovered" podcast series, NBC Sports Northwest takes a deep dive into how Oregon sparked a fashion transformation across college football with a mascot change, and with unique Nike uniforms that helped push the program into the national college football coversation.

The episode features in-depth interviews with former Oregon football head coach Mike Bellotti, former Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington, and more.

The episode releases Thursday, June 11. You can listen to this episode and the entire "Sports Uncovered" series by subscribing for free wherever you listen to podcasts.

To catch every episode, be sure to subscribe to "Sports Uncovered" and have every episode automatically downloaded to your phone. Sports Uncovered is available on the MyTeams app and on every major podcasting platform: Apple, Google Podcast, iHeart, Stitcher, Spotify, and TuneIn

Listen and subscribe to the "Sports Uncovered" podcast:

Jay Wright talks Saddiq Bey, missing March Madness, Phillies

USA Today Images

Jay Wright talks Saddiq Bey, missing March Madness, Phillies

It's been 12 days since Villanova's season ended abruptly due to the coronavirus crisis. Jay Wright held a video conference on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics. 

Here are the major takeaways from Wright's session with the media.  

This March is different

Villanova missed out on opportunities to win a fourth straight Big East Tournament and participate in the NCAA Tournament for the 15th time in the last 16 years. The Wildcats won eight of their final nine games to clinch a share of the Big East regular season title. Not having a chance to shine in the postseason stings. 

"Missing the NCAA Tournament is obviously tough for our guys," Wright said. "We felt like we were playing great basketball, coming on strong. I always say we want to play our best basketball at the end of the year, and I think we were doing that. It is what it is, our guys get it. 

"It's a great example of our mantra 'attitude'. We try to teach our guys that you don't have control over what happens in life. What you do have control of is your response to what happens to you. 

"I don't know if there's even been a March where I wasn't either in (the NCAA Tournament), watching it or recruiting during it. I'm testing myself on what else is there in me? Being a better father, being a better husband. Spending more time with the kids, watching more movies, reading more, trying to be more worldly. I'm not very good at it but I'm trying."

Will Saddiq Bey leave for the NBA? 

Arguably the biggest question concerning Wright's team heading into the offseason is will Saddiq Bey leave for the NBA or will he return for his junior season at Villanova? Wright mentioned that Bey was especially disappointed when this season was cut short. He realizes that he has a big decision to make on his future. Wright discussed Bey's future plans as well as freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who is also considered an NBA prospect. 

"The NBA is still on hold," Wright said. "They don't have a plan yet for what they're going to do with the pre-draft process or the draft yet. Saddiq and Jeremiah probably both will go through that process when we find out what it is. They're waiting on us for information, should they start working out? We're trying to get them as much information as possible. 

"If we were in a normal timeline, they would both go through the process. As we learn what the NBA is going to do there are so many possibilities. Just to take it to an extreme, there's a possibility they might not have a pre-draft process and just have the draft with no workouts, using the evaluations they had during the season. 

"We're communicating with both of them daily. Saddiq is having a tough time trying to find a place to work out in [his hometown] Washington D.C. He just got a gym to get into so he can shoot, he can't find a gym to get into to lift. Jeremiah is trying to find a place around here to get into to shoot."

2020 Summer Olympics postponed

Wright was supposed to spend a portion of his summer as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team in Tokyo. But with this week's announcement that the Olympics are postponed, his plans have changed. 

"It's the right decision," Wright said. "I feel bad for all of those athletes that it's once in a lifetime experience. I really feel bad for them. For basketball guys it's not as difficult. I talked with [U.S. head coach Greg Popovich] yesterday. It's postponed, obviously not cancelled, postponed until some time next spring or summer. There's a lot of questions there. They could do it late spring, when you might not have NBA players. If they did it in the summer maybe you do have NBA players. We have to wait for the IOC to make those decisions. 

"For us personally (at Villanova), it's kind of crazy because we thought we came up with this great plan. I was going to have to leave our offseason program for the Olympics. We had a plan to work around that, and now it doesn't matter. We'll be here in June and July. Now we don't even know if the players will be here. We worked so hard to put this plan in place for me being away and now it doesn't even matter."

Phillies season on hold

A Bucks County native, Wright is a huge Philadelphia sports fan. He had Phillies season tickets as a kid and is a regular at Citizens Bank Park during the summer months. Like all Phillies fans, he's disappointed the baseball season isn't starting this week.

"The end of the basketball season was always sobering," Wright said. "But what always saved us was the start of the Phillies. Opening Day and the start of baseball season in our family is a big deal. 

"We watch the spring training games, we'll even joke, 'Who do the Phillies play tonight?' It's really surreal. Spring time without baseball, especially the Phillies, is bizarre. It's really the way myself and my family get ourselves out of basketball mode. We go to Opening Day, we go to the Phillies games, we love 'Bark in the Park', we always bring the dogs. We're really going to miss it."

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