Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins lead way as No. 2 Villanova routs Georgetown Hoyas, 81-55
WASHINGTON — Cheshire cat grins flashed across the faces of Villanova senior guards Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins as they pondered coming home to the D.C. area to face Georgetown one last time.
“Regular game, man,” Hart said. “Regular game.”
It was just a regular game because Hart and Jenkins again took control to lead No. 2 Villanova to an 81-55 rout of Georgetown on Saturday.
Hart finished with 21 points and hit back-to-back 3-pointers with 7 minutes left to put the game out of reach and Jenkins scored 19 as the local products continued their career trend of torching the Hoyas.
“We’ve all been there: You want to come back, you want to play great, you want to get hyped for the crowd,” coach Jay Wright said. “You’re a normal human being. For them to be able to come in and lead their team and do the little things and not play to the crowd, it’s really impressive. I’m really proud of them, and I’m a little bit amazed every time they do it.”
Hart, from nearby Silver Spring, Maryland, was ice cold for stretches but came up big when it mattered. He finished 8 of 15 from the field with six rebounds, four assists and three steals as the Wildcats (28-3, 15-3 Big East) won their fifth consecutive game against Georgetown (14-17, 5-13) — tying the longest streak in the history of the rivalry.
Jenkins , from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, made four of his eight shots and was 11 of 13 from the free throw line.
Georgetown at one point cut its deficit to four, but the defending national champions scored on 15 of 17 possessions to turn it into a blowout. With 11:50 remaining Villanova was shooting 34.8 percent, which would have been a season low, but it made 12 of its final 16 shots to finish at 46.3 percent.
“Our defense disappeared,” said Georgetown coach John Thompson III, who blamed his team’s 20 turnovers for a fifth consecutive loss. “Josh hit those two 3s, and we didn’t bounce back.”
Villanova: Has won two straight since losing at home to Butler on Feb. 22 and looks primed to make another long March run.
“I just feel like we’re getting better, and as long as we continue to get better and play Villanova basketball, we’ll accept the results of any game,” Jenkins said.
Georgetown: The disaster of Thompson’s 13th season on the Hilltop is almost over as speculation continues to swirl going into the Big East Tournament.
“New slate,” said Rodney Pryor, who scored a team-high 21 points. “We have to win four. That’s our mindset.”
Forward Darryl Reynolds returned after missing five games with a rib injury, and his 27 minutes showed the value of depth to Villanova’s hopes moving forward.
“It’s the first time we’ve really been able to play eight guys since the beginning of the year,” Hart said. “It’s definitely great to get D-Ray back, and we were able to kind of cut down on some of the minutes.”
GOT TO HAVE HART
Hart’s 3-point daggers came with Jenkins and Jalen Brunson, who finished with 17 points, on the bench as Wright tried to rest them for the stretch run. Villanova went big inside and took away from its offensive ability, but Hart filled the void.
“Josh recognizes that, and that’s his time to come off and look for 3s,” Wright said. “It was just really smart on his part.”
When a reporter tried to ask Thompson about external questions about the future of the program, a team spokesman interrupted with: “Leave it to game-related questions, please.” Georgetown is in danger of its first consecutive losing seasons since 1971-72 and ’72-73.
Georgetown: As the No. 9 seed in the Big East Tournament, faces No. 8 seed St. John’s on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Villanova: Gets a bye as the top seed and faces the winner of Georgetown-St. John’s on Thursday afternoon.