January 28, 2014 - With the second half clock reading 4:04, Georgetown senior point guard Markel Starks sank a jumper, bringing this team to within two points of Villanova at 56-53. Many of Verizon Center's 11,204 in attendance were on their feet, cheering the him and the homestanding Hoyas for battling fourth ranked nationally 'Nova tooth and nail.
Wildcat senior forward James Bell definitively answered around 30 seconds later, canning a three pointer. The Hoyas crept to within three points after yet another Starks shot, but got no closer, falling 65-60 last night.
"He's got onions, as Raf says" noted Head Wildcat Jay Wright of Bell's shot, coining a phrase by color commentator Bill Rafferty. "And everybody on our team knows that. He's got incredible range. I know it looks crazy, but he makes those a lot. He's hit so many shots for us".
Bell sank the game's big shot, but wasn't efficient, going 4-11 from the field, 3-8 on three pointers, finishing with 16 points while adding four rebounds.
"Coach has great confidence in me, as well as my team...you just have to keep shooting" said Bell, known as 'Taj' to those in Villy's program. "As a leader, they count on me to make plays and I saw a play and tried to make it".
The same can be said of Starks, who made the shot mentioned earlier, but rimmed off a three ball fired with 1:27 remaining, one that could have tied the game.
"We got the looks, for the people we wanted, for the most part open looks" said G'Town's head coach, John Thompson III of not only Starks but the entire team. "The ball didn't go in the basket".
Starks paced the game with 20 points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out a contest high five helpers. The team shot 44.2%, but less in the second half (37.5%). Three balls were completed at a 30% clip for the Hoyas, 18.2% in the final stanza.
Villanova's shooting was worse - 40% overall, 31.8% beyond the arc - and the Wildcats surrendered 16 turnovers. Regarding the giveaways, Wright noted "Georgetown's defense was great...We haven't done that, we've been pretty good taking care of the basketball".
If the 'Cats shot less proficiently than G'Town, gave away the rock 16 times (though it was two less than G'Town), and got up seven fewer shots, shouldn't they have likely lost?
Not when you get 19 more free throw opportunities, 13 excluding late game strategic, Hoya fouling.
"I'm not saying we're being fouled and they're not calling, I don't know" said Thompson of his team's rare three throw opportunities. "You look at that stat right away and you see we shoot nine foul shots, they shoot 28. The same thing was true last game. So we gotta figure out how to get fouled".
Freshman wing Reggie Cameron scored 12 points for Thompson, senior forward Aaron Bowen finished with seven points and four rebounds, while junior forward Mikael Hopkins logged six points and five rebounds, a carom total equaled by senior forward Nate Lubick.
Two 'Cats other than Bell entered double figure scoring; sophomore center Daniel Ochefu and junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston, both logging 12 points. Pinkston led all rebounders with seven.
Georgetown, now 11-9, 3-6 in the BIG EAST,next travels to NYC, where a pre-Super Bowl hoops matchup where top ten nationally Michigan State looms this Saturday. Villanova (18-2/7-1) travels down Philly's Main Line, taking on Temple.