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More tremendous defense and lots of second half scoring leads Villanova to victory | Villanova vs. Georgetown Preview

Written by on February 19, 2024

In our Nation’s Capital on Friday night, Villanova and their balanced scoring handed Georgetown their 10th straight loss, 70-54. Once again, the Wildcats had four players with at least ten points: Eric Dixon, Brendan Hausen, TJ Bamba, and Justin Moore. Dixon finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists. Bamba led Villanova with 14 points on 5-7 shooting from the field. Villanova converted 45.5% of their shots from the field and knocked down 11 of 31 three-point attempts (35.5%) against the Hoyas. Villanova was out rebounded by Georgetown, 36-31, but the Wildcats dominated the Hoyas in assists, turnovers, and steals. They finished with 11 steals compared to one steal for Georgetown.

Villanova vs. Georgetown on a cold Friday night in Washington, DC at Capital One Arena.

Villanova’s defense did a great job at limiting Georgetown’s best scorers. Jayden Epps, Supreme Cook, and Dontrez Styles were held to just 25 combined points. Epps, who is one of the best scorers in the Big East by averaging over 17 points per game, was kept scoreless in the first half and finished the game with nine points while shooting 3-12 from the field. As a team, the Hoyas shot 34.4% from the field and 30% from behind the arc. They knocked down some clutch threes early in the second half to keep the game competitive, but Villanova pulled away in the final five minutes of the second half.

Game Recap

First Half: Villanova’s Defense Sets the Tone

Once again, it was not the greatest start for Villanova on the road. The Wildcats trailed the Hoyas, 7-3, at the first media timeout. Villanova converted just one of their first five three-point attempts. Although Georgetown’s defense is one of the worst in the Big East by averaging more than 77 points allowed per game, they found ways to limit Eric Dixon in the first half and forced Villanova to earn every shot.

Jordan Longino tied the game at eight with a driving layup about eight minutes into the game. Georgetown’s Rowan Brumbaugh was one of their best players all night with 14 points in 31 minutes. Brumbaugh made a nice driving layup with 10:21 left to give Georgetown a two-point advantage. Both teams struggled from behind the arc in the first half and they exchanged baskets midway through the first half.

Brendan Hausen continued his great three-point shooting and scoring ability in the first twenty minutes. He was the main source of offense for Villanova in the first half and had some great passes as well. A Hausen three with 5:58 left extended Villanova’s small lead to five points. Towards the end of the first half of action, Villanova led Georgetown, 23-17, but Mark Armstrong appeared to hurt his knee after getting a steal and being fouled near the basket. Armstrong did not return in the first half, but after testing his knee on the exercise bike, he played some of the second half. In total, Armstrong played just 13 minutes.

The Wildcats took a nine-point lead into the locker room, 28-19. Villanova’s offense could have definitely been better in the first twenty minutes, but the defense stepped up and allowed the Wildcats to get a fairly comfortable lead at the break. They kept Jayden Epps scoreless in the first twenty minutes.

Second Half: The Wildcats Pull Away + Justin Moore’s Huge Second Half

Villanova made great second half adjustments offensively. After a Tyler Burton three with 15:37 left, they took a 12-point advantage. The Wildcats held around a ten-point lead for most of the second half. Georgetown came out of halftime with some energy as well and knocked down some three-pointers after shooting just 15% from behind the arc in the first.

Dontrez Styles cut Georgetown’s deficit to four points with a three-pointer, but Villanova continued to battle back and never allowed the Hoyas to get closer than that. The Wildcats took their largest lead of 17 points with 1:38 left. Hausen struggled from behind the arc in the second half, but Eric Dixon and Justin Moore combined for 19 second half points. Villanova scored 42 points in the final twenty minutes as Moore got back on track with two threes.

My Thoughts

In their first Quad 3 matchup since December against UCLA, Villanova could not afford a loss to struggling Georgetown. The Wildcats did not play their best game, but they put together a solid effort on the road to beat the Hoyas by double-digits in the end. Villanova needs to improve on their rebounding, but the Wildcats showed great depth scoring, defense, and ball movement against Georgetown. In their last few games, Villanova’s offense has been less aggressive and taken better shots with more creativity and passing incorporated into the offensive scheme. Coach Neptune has found a rhythm for this team since the start of February. A huge positive for Villanova is that Justin Moore came alive in the second half to score ten points for the first time since January 20th against UConn and only the second time since returning from his knee injury in January. If Moore can find some consistency along with the recent scoring of Hausen and Bamba, Villanova’s chances of making the tournament will skyrocket.

Big East Standings + WXVU’s Coverage of Villanova vs. Butler

With their win against Georgetown, Villanova is now 14-11 overall and 7-7 in conference play. They are currently in sixth place in the Big East standings with a chance to extend their half-game lead over the Bulldogs. The Wildcats are looking for their third straight win against Butler on Tuesday night at 6:30pm. Villanova returns to the Finn for the first time since January 30th and for the second to last time this season. WXVU’s live coverage of Villanova vs. Butler begins at 6pm on Tuesday with the pregame show. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30pm.