Life in the Big East
After directing the tip-off to Fisher Mouphtaou Yarou grabbed a defensive rebound off a Jason Clark miss, grabbed a tipped pass and hit a reverse layup for the game's first score. An offensive rebound two possessions later that elicited a foul from Hoya center Julian Vaughn and the sophomore center was on the line for two. He made both, and grabbed a second defensive rebound two (Hoya) possessions later that ended with a Corey Stokes three point miss. Yarou picked up his first personal foul about a minute later and headed to the bench. He came back in, missed two attempts on consecutive possessions about seven minutes later, and, as the Wildcats collectively settled into an offense that consisted of a series of jump shots from 14 feet and farther out, did not touch the ball again in the first half. Although the center re-emerged for a dominant sequence about halfway through the second half, he committed foul number four with seven minutes to go and went back to the bench, not to see the court again until the last three minutes of the game.
The Villanova blogosphere registered a collective groan, as VUHoops.com posted a recap with player/team grades..."Hoping for a good recruiting class" is a grade? The Nova Blog posted a video sequence from "The Shining" -- Jack Nicholson chopping through the bath room door to get to Talia Shire -- which is Chris' reaction to Austin Freeman. A reaction very different, but complementary in it's own right, from Coach Wright who cited Freeman's 30 point performance in his post game press conference and concluded with the aside "I love him, and he's a great kid too". The Hoya blogosphere has a few early posts, including the Hoya Prospectus recap with a breakdown by halves similar to vbtn's (I wrote the first paragraph above before going over to check out Brian's recap -- he indicates the "Let 'em take jumpers" is a defensive strategy the Hoyas also used against the Johnnies last week...) and The Casual Hoya posted a quick recap & look ahead as well. The Athletic Department website posted the official boxscore and the AP wire story, "No. 8 Wildcats Upended by No. 21 Georgetown, 69-66". The breakdown by halves...
Forget the highlighting...Brian Lerner does a nice job of highlighting the good and bad, just remember to "see" red where he has green, and green where he has red. paint it all red. For the second game running, the pace was surprising. 30 possessions for the first half is stunning, possibly the lowest possession half played by the 'Cats this season. Only the Pennsylvania game, at 62 possessions, matches this 62.7 (63) game for lowest number of possessions. The Wildcats were able to force turnovers, particularly in the first four minutes of the game (see below) and during the last two minutes of the game when the Hoyas committed two turnovers and committed personal fouls as the Wildcats trimmed the lead to a single possession. But Villanova did not blunt the Hoyas' shot efficiency, allowing a 57.6% eFG% for the game, and a disappointing 57%+ for each half. No halftime adjustment appeared in the offering. Villanova's inability to get offensive rebounds, especially in the first half was also disappointing.
1. Austin Freeman posted 30 points in a performance eerily similar to many that Scottie Reynolds had over his career. And like Reynolds, Freeman stepped up as the "go to" guy in the opponents' arena. During the last two minutes of the game every Hoya ball handler looked around to find Freeman, and the senior did not disappoint. If he could not take the shot he found the teammate who could. After Freeman dropped his last free throw an NBA scout sitting next to me commented on his "calm and professional demeanor", especially with the game on the line. Only one other Georgetown player, Jason Clark, scored in double digits -- 10 points on the nose (though Nate Lubick and Julian Vaughn scored eight and nine respectively).
2. Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns shared scoring honors for the Wildcats, logging 15 points each as an ironic counterpoint to Freeman. Two other Wildcats, Antonio Pena (10) and Corey Stokes (13), also scored 10 or more points. Stokes, 4-10 with 3-6 three pointers, converted at an efficient 55% eFG% despite suffering a turf toe injury in the game's opening minutes.
The First Four Minutes
What can the first four minutes tell us about the half/game? With respect to today's game, not much apparently. In the first half, the Wildcats took the tip-off and the two teams ran off six possessions in the game's first four minutes...
Though the tempo favored the Hoyas (6 possessions tracks for 30 on the half), the effieincy definitely seemed to favor the Wildcats. Villanova however turned over their next two possessions, and Georgetown out scored Villanova 27-16 over the last 16 mintues of the half.
The second half produced seven possessions in the first four minutes, but the scoring so favored the Hoyas that Coach Jay Wright called a timeout to regroup his squad...
With seven possessions, the half was on pace for 35 possessions apiece; that "slowed" to 32 over the next 16 minutes. Unlike the first half, this four minute snapshot did accurately "foretell" a more offense-oriented half. The Wildcats went on to outscore the Hoyas 32-28 through the end of the game.
Records, Next Up...
Villanova's records drop to 17-4 overall and 5-3 in conference. The 'Cats are now off of Pittsburgh's pace by 2 games. Georgetown extends it's winning streak to five games and pushing north of 0.500 in conference play for the first time this season. The Hoyas are 16-5 overall, 5-4 in conference play. Villanova readies for another home game with Marquette on Wednesday (2/2), while Georgetown heads home to host Louisville on Monday (1/31).