One year ago on a Monday night in January, Creighton pelted No. 4 Villanova with 21 3-pointers in a surprising blowout victory on the Wildcats' home court. Villanova, ranked No. 4 again in the latest poll, was humbled again Monday night, this time on the road at Georgetown.
If there was any doubt about the Hoyas' chances to contend with the Wildcats for the Big East title going into the game, the doubts were erased in the 78-58 victory. It was just the second loss of the season for the Wildcats and Georgetown students stormed the court to celebrate.
“I think they watch too much TV,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III joked in his postgame television interview. “I’m excited for the students but I really wish they hadn’t done that,”
The young Hoyas seem to be finding themselves and figuring out their roles in the Princeton-style offense. They carried the momentum from a last-minute win over Butler on Saturday into the first half against the Wildcats with a defensive effort Thompson praised.
The veteran backcourt of Jabril Trawick and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera led the way. They combined to make all four 3-point attempts in the Hoyas’ big first half and also set the tone on defense with five steals. Freshman forward Isaac Copeland, who hit the game-winner against Butler on Saturday, led the Hoyas with 17 points along with 17 from Smith-Rivera.
Villanova didn't play its best, shooting 33 percent and committing 17 turnovers, including 10 in the first half when the game got away. The Wildcats trailed at one point by 26 points.
Ryan Arcidiacono led a Villanova rally in the second half and the Wildcats were able to cut the lead to 12, but they lacked the energy and offense to come all the way back from such a large hole.
Last year Creighton seemed to have Villanova’s number. The Blue Jays earned a second big win over the Wildcats just a few weeks after the first victory. Villanova now knows the Hoyas are capable of playing the role of challenger this year. They meet again Feb. 7 in Philadelphia.
- - - - - - -