The Wildcats topple over the Hoyas 76-63 in what was a statement in-conference opening win for Jay Wright’s squad. This win capped off their longest road stint in 17 years with a victory.
This one got off to a shaky start. Georgetown outscored Villanova 46 to 33, going up by as much as 18 in the opening 20 minutes. The Hoyas had a couple of clear advantages: they’re a tall team, especially at the guard position. Senior guards Jahvon Blair and Donald Carey, who are at 6’4 and 6’5 respectively, were able to use their longer frames and wider wingspans to carry over Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore who are both smaller in stature. They are also an experienced team, with four out of their five starting players being seniors (Qudus Wahab, sophomore). This is a very experienced group that has spent a lot of time together to both build chemistry with one another and fully accustomed themselves to Patrick Ewing’s offensive system. This allowed them to get off to a very fast and streaky start, especially from behind the perimeter.
Tonight’s win can be credited to a strong and collective team effort of Villanova Basketball. However, it mostly comes from the three Cs, Collin Gillespie, Cole Swider and Caleb Daniels.
Gillespie reminded us why he is the captain and offensive focal point for Wright’s offense. He had 18 points and had 5 successful shots from behind the arc, a season-high. Though he struggled in the first half, he maintained his intensity to finish out the half with some quick scores to gain momentum heading into the intermission.
Swider continues to consistently show how underrated he is as a key component to the team. The junior made some important shots in the middle and later parts of the second half, which were critical in taking the basketball game out of Georgetown’s reach and preventing them from creating any late-game push. His ability to space the floor and shoot over smaller defenders as his size is not the only key for beating out more inexperienced bench squads, but is also reflective of the evolution and direction of the game of basketball as a whole.
Daniels had a season-high 18 points tonight and matched Gillespie for 5 threes in the contest. A lot of people were shaky when seeing Daniels inserted into the starting line up having never played a singular minute in Wright’s system. But as we all know, when you trust Coach Wright, things usually tend to work out for the better. The goal of this team this year, the ceiling, is to win a national title. If Caleb Daniels continues to be as trustworthy of an offensive piece as he was in the opening stretch of Bubbleville, he could be an absolutely essential tool in reaching the Final Four.
Next, the Wildcats will play Butler at home on Dec. 16, tip-off is set for 4 P.M.