WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three times in the second half, Georgetown got
within hailing distance of Villanova. Only once did coach Jay
Wright feel the need to call a timeout to settle his team.
The 23rd-ranked Wildcats are a team on a roll in every facet,
working together to handle adversity and push it aside. They won
their fifth straight game Sunday, beating the Hoyas 67-56 by
shutting down one of the Big East's top freshmen and getting an
inside boost from a sophomore nicknamed "Bump."
Will Sheridan scored a season-high 14 points and grabbed nine
rebounds, supplementing 18 points from Allan Ray and 12 points and
seven assists from Kyle Lowry to move Villanova (19-6, 9-5) into
sole possession of fourth place in the conference.
"We know that Will Sheridan has been invaluable to us all year.
He's done all the little things," Wright said. "We've been trying
to get him to assert himself offensively. He's such a team player
he always acquiesces to the other guys. We've been trying to
convince him that you're going to make them better by making the
other team guard you, and that's what he did today."
Sheridan, who's been called "Bump" since childhood, was 6-of-9
from the field and had three steals. He was a steady force early
when neither team was making outside shots. He said he's just
getting into the flow of being a starter after serving as a
self-described "energy guy" off the bench last year.
"It just took a while to adjust to the starting position,"
Sheridan said. "When you come off the bench, you get a chance to
get a feel for the game. When you start, you have to set the
Villanova held freshman Jeff Green to five points, matching his
season-low, and put another dent in the NCAA tournament hopes of
Georgetown (16-9, 8-6). The Hoyas have lost three straight and
likely need at least two more victories to have a realistic shot at
their first NCAA bid since 2001.
"For this group, we're in uncharted waters in that we have
important games this time of year," first-year coach John Thompson
III said. "It's not over. The Connecticut game is important. The
Providence game is important. The (Big East) tournament is
important. We're fighting here, we're scrapping, we're still in the
mix, and you lose. It's extremely disappointing."
Villanova's victory avenged a 66-64 home loss on Jan. 15, the
day the Wildcats celebrated the 20th anniversary of the stunning
upset over the Hoyas in the 1985 NCAA final. Some of the Villanova
fans who made the trip Sunday chanted "85" and "N-I-T" in the
closing minutes. The Wildcats have never lost in five games at the
The Wildcats did not shoot well -- Ray went 5-for-17 and Randy
Foye was 3-for-11 -- but their defense did more than enough. Green,
one of the favorites for Big East rookie of the year, took just one
shot in the first half and finished 1-for-5 from the field.
"They decided not to let Jeff touch the ball," Thompson said.
"We could not get him the ball. And when he did get it, they
doubled and sometimes tripled him right away. Even before he had
the ball a lot of times, he was doubled. Because of that, we had
shots. Guys were open, the ball just didn't go in."
Brandon Bowman, the Hoyas' only player in double figures, scored
22 points and fouled out in the final minute. Georgetown shot 28
percent in the first half and 34 percent for the game.
The Hoyas have struggled in the first half all season, and
Sunday was no exception. They started 2-for-10 from the field with
four turnovers in the first 9 minutes. They were 1-for-10 from
3-point range before Darrel Owens hit two in the final 2 minutes to
keep the half from being a complete embarrassment.
That started a run of 3-pointers that continued into the second
half. Georgetown cut the lead to six, eight and six at various
times, but the Wildcats always found a way to respond -- and they no
longer need timeouts to tell them how.
"Now they just know," Wright said. "They know it's coming.
They know they're going to respond, and they have confidence that
they will respond."
Lowry started his second straight game in place of point guard
Mike Nardi, who sprained an ankle in practice last week and is
questionable for Wednesday's game against Seton Hall. Curtis
Sumpter, who tweaked a knee injury in the last few days, added 11
points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats.