Hart leads Villanova past Hoyas 81-67 in Big East quarters

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
0 Comments

NEW YORK (AP) Josh Hart scored 25 points, Ryan Arcidiacono added 19 points and six assists, and third-ranked Villanova pulled away from Georgetown in the second half to open its bid for consecutive Big East Tournament titles with an 81-67 quarterfinal win Thursday.

Kris Jenkins added 15 points for the top-seeded Wildcats (28-4), who made 13 of their 21 3-point attempts.

The eighth-seeded Hoyas (15-18), whose first-round game ended about 15 hours earlier, led 47-46 midway through the second half before Arcidiacono and Hart led Villanova on a game-breaking run.

Georgetown had 16 offensive rebounds to just four for the Wildcats but converted them into only 12 second-chance points. Villanova, meanwhile, took full advantage of the Hoyas’ mistakes, turning 11 turnovers into 20 points.

The Wildcats had been 0-5 against Georgetown at the Big East Tournament.

L.J. Peak led the Hoyas with 19 points.

Villanova meets Butler or Providence in Friday’s semifinals.

With his team down a point with just over 10 minutes left, Hart knifed through the defense for a layup that put Villanova ahead for good. Arcidiacono hit two 3-pointers then dished to Hart in transition off a turnover for a three-point play that made it 60-48 with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.

Villanova big man Daniel Ochefu, playing on a sprained ankle, had no points and no rebounds in 13 minutes. But the taller Hoyas weren’t able to take advantage enough inside. Center Bradley Hayes, who returned Wednesday night with 10 points after missing six games with a broken left hand, wasn’t able to get many touches other than one stretch at the start of the second half.

Neither team scored for nearly five minutes late in the first half before Jenkins hit a 3-pointer with 8 seconds remaining to give Villanova a 28-27 lead at the break.

FOULS OUT

There were just eight fouls called and no free throws shot in the first half, with the referees allowing physical play more reminiscent of a 1980s Big East game. It was a complete reversal from the tournament’s previous game that ended about 12 hours earlier, when Marquette and St. John’s combined for 53 fouls and 66 free throws Wednesday night.

There were 27 fouls and 37 free throws in the second half, though many of those came when Georgetown was playing catch-up.

TIP-INS

Georgetown: Leading scorer D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was poked in the eye with just under four minutes left in the first half. He returned in the final seconds. Georgetown failed to score in his absence. Smith-Rivera finished with eight points on 4-of-11 shooting, missing all four 3-point tries. … Hayes had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Villanova: Arcidiacono twice went diving into the stands, once in each half. … Darryl Reynolds had four blocks and three steals.

UP NEXT

Villanova plays Butler or Providence in Friday’s semifinals.

Georgetown’s season likely ends with a 15-18 record.