PHILDELPHIA -- Villanova made a strong case on why it should be given an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament by turning back a top-five opponent for the third time this season. The Wildcats (19-12, 10-8 Big East) knocked off No. 5 Georgetown (23-5, 13-4) 67-57 Wednesday before 13,685 at the Wells Fargo Center. Earlier in the season, Villanova knocked off then No.5 Louisville and No. 3 Syracuse, both in late January. Throw in a 60-56 win over Marquette, another Top 25 team, and Villanova has a nice resume heading into the Big East Tournament next week in New York. Coach Jay Wright's team was picked to finish 12th in the 15-team league in the preseason. The loss ended an 11-game win streak for the Hoyas, who play Syracuse on Saturday in the final game of their storied Big East rivalry. Syracuse is headed for the ACC next season. A win by Georgetown on Wednesday would have guaranteed it at least a share of the Big East's regular season title, but coach John Thompson III's team was done in by a Villanova bunch that was aggressive in its sets, resulting in numerous trips to the free throw line. The Wildcats, led by 20 points from JayVaughn Pinkston, were 30 of 42 from the line, compared to just 4 of 8 for Georgetown. Georgetown moved to within four points at 56-52 with 2:46 to play, but Villanova closed it out with an 11-5 run with all of the points coming from the line. Pinkston was 4 of 6 from the line in the stretch. Otto Porter Jr., a candidate for National Player of the Year, led Georgetown with 17 points, recording his 15th straight game in double figures. Named as the Big East's Player of the Week for the third straight week, Porter dominated the second half with 11 of his team's 28 points. However, he was held in check late in the game, failing to score after his last basket with 9:09 left. Georgetown committed a season-high 23 turnovers. Georgetown struggled in its half-court offense, ran into early foul trouble and committed 12 turnovers in the first half. That formula led to a 33-29 Villanova lead at intermission. D'Vaun Smith-Rivera scored on a runner to draw the Hoyas even at 27-27 with 1:16 left in the half, but the Wildcats closed on a 6-2 run. The Hoyas led 9-2 before the Wildcats went on a 17-3 run to grab a 19-12 advantage. Villanova sank 5 of 8 from the line during that stretch and James Bell drained two 3-pointers. Porter had a quiet half, scoring just six points with one rebound. Pinkston led Villanova with nine points. It has been five seasons since the Hoyas added to their Big East trophy collection. They won their second consecutive Big East regular season title in 2007-08. The previous season they won the Big East championship and reached the Final Four. NOTES: Wednesday was just the second time in one season that Villanova hosted three top-five teams. The Wildcats defeated then No. 5 Louisville (73-64) on Jan. 22 and No. 3 Syracuse (75-71) on Jan. 26. ... Georgetown, with no seniors on its roster, is 10th in the nation in scoring defense, limiting the opposition to 56.3 ppg. ... Villanova freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono is averaging 14.8 ppg over his last six games and has converted his last 18 free-throw attempts to raise his season average to .832 from the line.
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