Sapp, Wallace lead Hoyas past Villanova in Big East tournament
NEW YORK (AP)—Austin Freeman missed Georgetown’s first shot, a 3-pointer the Hoyas rebounded and kicked out to DaJuan Summers for another 3 try that hit nothing but net.
That was only the start.
Jessie Sapp scored a career-high 23 points and No. 9 Georgetown tied a Big East tournament record with 17 3-pointers, fending off a second-half comeback to beat Villanova 82-63 on Thursday in the second round.
Jonathan Wallace hit five 3s and had 19 of his 20 points in the first half for the defending champion Hoyas (26-4), who improved to 13-0 when they have the top seed in the conference tournament. Sapp finished with six 3s, and Summers had three.
“We didn’t feel bad at halftime,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “I think they made 10 3s at halftime and we said, ‘All right, they can’t keep making all of these.”’
But the Hoyas nearly did, finishing 17-of-28 from beyond the arc to set a school record for 3s in a game. They advanced to play No. 5 seed West Virginia in the semifinals on Friday.
“We told our guys to be ready to shoot,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “You’re going to be open, put the ball in the basket. Make shots.”
Villanova trailed by as many as 15 points late in the first half, but went on a 26-9 run after Georgetown forward Patrick Ewing Jr. picked up a technical for throwing the ball in the air after a foul under his own basket.
Dante Cunningham gave the eighth-seeded Wildcats (20-12) their first lead with two free throws that made it 45-43 with 13:41 left, and Antonio Pena’s putback moments later gave the heavy underdogs a four-point lead.
Sapp came alive a few minutes later, converting a three-point play to put Georgetown ahead 51-50 with 12:04 to go. He followed with a 3-pointer to begin building the lead and the Hoyas pulled away.
“Villanova’s too good for us not to expect a comeback,” Thompson said. “Finally we got going. Jessie made some big plays.”
Scottie Reynolds scored 13 for the Wildcats, who have never beaten Georgetown in five Big East tournament games and are left on the NCAA tournament bubble. Cunningham, Pena and Dwayne Anderson added 12 each for Villanova.
The Wildcats stayed close most of the way from the free throw line, where they were 23-of-28 against 9-of-13 for Georgetown. At halftime, Villanova had already taken 18 foul shots against none for the Hoyas.
Summers added 19 points for Georgetown, winners of five straight. The Hoyas hung on despite getting virtually no production from all-Big East center Roy Hibbert, who was 0-for-2 from the field and had just four rebounds before fouling out with 5:09 left.
“Roy had a tough time getting started,” Thompson said. “The nature of our team is when any particular guy is struggling, not doing well, we have other people that can step up.”
The game was a rematch of a controversial ending last month, when Corey Stokes fouled Wallace 70-feet from the basket with the game tied and 0.1 seconds on the clock. A livid Wright and a disbelieving Villanova bench watched as Wallace hit both free throws to allow the Hoyas to escape.
If there was any bad blood left over from that meeting, Reynolds spilled it with a couple minutes left in the first half.
The high-scoring guard collapsed in a heap beneath a pile of Georgetown players under the basket after a fast break. He got up with a deep gash over his right eye, and left a small trail of blood on the floor heading back to the bench.
Reynolds returned a couple of minutes later, but the cut reopened in the second half and he had to take a seat while the Hoyas ran off eight straight points.
If the Wildcats are left out of the NCAA tournament, they can look back to their regular-season game against Georgetown and an early season loss to North Carolina State, when a whistle with 0.2 seconds left and Villanova ahead by one allowed the Wolfpack to claim a 69-68 victory.
“We’re an NCAA tournament team, but that’s not our decision. We’ll let the committee make that decision,” Wright said. “We still think we’re one of the best teams in the country, we just weren’t better than Georgetown today.”
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