March 8, 2014
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats closed out the regular season with their 19th double digit victory of 2013-14 in a 77-59 victory over Georgetown in a BIG EAST game played before 18, 828 at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday. Villanova, which clinched the BIG EAST regular season title on Thursday with a win at Xavier, finished the regular season at 28-3 overall, 16-2 in league play.
The 28 wins are the most regular season victories in school history and the 16 conference triumphs are also a program record.
Junior Darrun Hilliard led the Wildcats in scoring for the third straight game with 19 points. Four of his teammates - JayVaughn Pinkston (13), James Bell (11), Ryan Arcidiacono (11) and Kris Jenkins (10) also scored in double figures.
Markel Starks led the Hoyas (17-13 overall, 8-10 BIG EAST) with 20 points.
"That was a very good win for us," stated Wildcats head coach Jay Wright. "Coming back from playing on Thursday night just shows the focus and maturity of this group. These guys just love to play together. It doesn't matter if they are tired. It was really fun to be a part of this.
"That's a good Georgetown team. That's a tournament team."
Villanova moved out quickly in this one thanks largely to the handiwork of Hilliard, who came up with a pair of steals, and seven points over the first 5:27 to help the Wildcats grab a 12-5 lead over the Hoyas.
Georgetown quickly bounced back as it got its perimeter game rolling. A Jabril Trawick triple narrowed the Wildcats' lead to 16-15 eight minutes into the action.
But as the period moved along the Wildcats stretched their advantage, thanks to a balanced attack that featured 11 first period points from James Bell and seven more from freshman Josh Hart. The Hoyas were also hampered by the fact that Starks and Trawick each was assessed three fouls in the period, forcing both to the sidelines late in the period.
After 20 minutes, Villanova held a 42-29 lead.
A Starks jumper got the Hoyas to within 42-31 with 18:05 to play in the contest but Villanova got a driving basket by Pinkston and a steal and layup by Hilliard to extend the advantage to 46-31 with 16:30 to go.
The Wildcats' working margin was never less than 14 points the rest of the way.
With its seeding in the BIG EAST Tournament secured by virtue of a 77-70 win at Xavier on Thursday, a loss of focus by the Wildcats could have been understandable. But it was not an issue in Wright's eyes.
"It comes from the maturity of this group," stated Wright. "They bring it every day in practice and were ready to go today. I think that's what unique about them - their ability to keep an intensity level about them regardless of the circumstances.
"They really stay focused on staying humble. It really has not been difficult - they have kept their focus on the job at hand."
Following the game Director of Athletics Vince Nicastro and Villanova President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., presented the players and coaches the BIG EAST regular season trophy in the team locker room.
"These guys do a great job of, even when things aren't going our way, of continuing to grind. They keep their minds on the next play," noted Wright.
Bell offered his thoughts on the team's ability to remain in the moment.
"Our focus is always on the next game and the next day," stated Bell. "We just want to continue to get better. Everyone can say what they want. For us, on the inside, we know what the truth is. We know what we have to get better at. The next day is just the next challenge and chance to get better."
Villanova will next see action on Thursday at noon when it plays in a quarterfinal game of the BIG EAST Tournament at Madison Square Garden against the winner of Wednesday night's 8 vs. 9 matchup in the opening round.
Follow Villanova Basketball on social media
Twitter: @NovaMBB #NovaMBB