In their final game of the regular season, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (14-17, 7-11 Big East) fell to No. 3 Villanova (27-4, 16-2 Big East) by a score of 84-71 in front of a sell-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wildcats took the Big East regular season title after their dominating win.
Although freshman forward Marcus Derrickson scored the first points of the game, giving Georgetown a 2-0 advantage, the Blue and Gray would never lead again. The Hoyas had an 18-5 run in the second half that cut the lead to 11, but were never able to close Villanova’s lead to less than that.
The disappointing loss caps off a disappointing season for the Hoyas, who finish under .500 for the first time since the 2003-04 season, and put up the worst statistical season since the 1971-72, when the team went 3-23 under then-Head Coach John Magee. Coincidentally, the 1971-72 season was the year before John Thompson, Jr. took over as head coach on the Hilltop.
Head coach John Thompson III spent a great deal of time talking to his players after the game, as it took him over an hour to reach the post-game press conference.
“I just wanted to talk about this year so far, the regular season,” Thompson explained. “There are going to be difficult times in your life, where you’re not going to understand why. I just talked about the situation as it relates to growing up. They’re kids. You have to help them learn through every experience.”
The Hoyas are a young team, with only two seniors who play significant minutes. Senior guard D’vauntes Smith Rivera and senior center Bradley Hayes were key leaders this season, but their efforts alone were not enough. Coach Thompson also relied heavily on production from younger players such as sophomore guard L.J. Peak and sophomore forward Isaac Copeland. Peak put up a career-high 31 points against Villanova this afternoon and is arguably the only reason Georgetown was even remotely competitive in the game.
Coupled with the lack of veteran players in the Georgetown lineup, Smith-Rivera and Hayes also failed to contribute consistently throughout the season. Hayes has been out with a broken hand for the last few weeks, but Smith-Rivera had the chance to end his regular season career by leading the Hoyas against a tough Big East opponent. The senior had seven total points, going 1-for-11 from the field and missing all seven three-point attempts. Smith-Rivera scored most of his points late at the free throw line, where he went 5-for-6.
Villanova head coach Jay Wright also commented on the youth of the Georgetown squad.
“[Georgetown] is going to be a really great team next year,” Wright said. “They’re just all young kids right now. To be honest, I don’t want to see them again, but there’s a chance we might.”
Wright was referring to the upcoming Big East Tournament, which is now Georgetown’s only chance at an NCAA Tournament bid. However, based on Georgetown’s Big East regular season play, the Hoyas have quite an uphill battle to the Big East Championship.
The Big East Tournament kicks off on Wednesday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. in Madison Square Garden. All games will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1, with the exception of the championship, which will air on Fox.