No. 14 Villanova looks to finish strong at Georgetown

NCAA Basketball
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Villanova will be looking to remain in contention for a share of the Big East title when it travels to Georgetown for the regular-season finale on Saturday.

The No. 14-ranked Wildcats improved to 23-7 overall and 12-5 in the conference with a stirring 79-77 win at No. 8-ranked Seton Hall last Wednesday.

If the Pirates lose at Creighton and Villanova defeats the Hoyas, all three teams will have identical 13-5 conference records.

Regardless of how the Big East shakes out, the latest road win will help this young group of Wildcats immensely. They don’t feature one scholarship senior on the roster.

Saddiq Bey led the way with 20 points while Jermaine Samuels and Justin Moore added 19 apiece to beat Seton Hall.

“Every experience for this group is a good one,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “That kind of environment, that kind of pressure for Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Justin Moore and even Saddiq Bey. He’s a sophomore and he hasn’t been a go-to guy before. This is a really good experience for our guys to have in their back pocket when we go into tournament time.”

Wright always talks about teachable moments and Villanova missed five free throws in the final 45 seconds yet found a way to hang on for the two-point win.

“Before the Providence game I think we were the No. 1 free-throw shooting team in the Big East,” Wright said. “We work on it every day. Some nights you’ve got to be able to do other things. You can’t be afraid to miss. If you miss, you’ve got to sleep in the streets. And we could have slept in the streets tonight. We missed free throws.”

Georgetown will try to avoid falling below .500 when it hosts Villanova.

The Hoyas fell to 15-15 overall and 5-12 in the conference following a 91-76 loss at Creighton on Wednesday. Jahvon Blair paced the Hoyas with 22 points, his fifth game this season with 20 or more.

Jamorko Pickett scored 17 points, Qudus Wahab added his first career double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds while Terrell Allen had 10 points.

Georgetown — which has been short-handed all season with a number of players leaving the program — continues to battle. But its depth is clearly an issue.

“They were getting everything. They were getting threes, they were also getting drives to the basket. In the first half, I think they had 14 second-chance points,” Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing said after the loss to Creighton. “When they are getting everything, it’s hard to beat them. When you lose two guys — either one of them can get 30 on any given night — it’s hard. So we’re trying to manufacture points.”

The task won’t get any easier against Villanova.

“We have one more game and it’s going to be a tough game, but anything can happen,” Ewing said. “Then it’s the new season. The new season starts at the Big East Tournament. Anything can happen in the Big East Tournament.”

It’s unclear if Georgetown’s Mac McClung (foot) or Omer Yurtseven (ankle) will play against the Wildcats. Neither player competed against Creighton.

–Field Level Media

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