- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Villanova entered last night’s game against Georgetown with the Big East’s fifth-best scoring offense at 78.1 points a game. But it was the Wildcats’ fullcourt defense that proved most damaging in a 56-52 win against the Hoyas in front of a crowd of 11,816 at Verizon Center.

Villanova sophomore forward Shane Clark went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 15.2 seconds to preserve the win for the Wildcats.

“No pressure, no pressure at all. I had butterflies, but no pressure,” Clark said. “I shoot them all the time in practice.”

With the win, the Wildcats (11-4, 1-2 Big East) remained unbeaten (6-0) all time at Verizon Center. The win also snapped Georgetown’s seven-game winning streak.

Clark finished with 14 points off Villanova’s bench. Freshman guard Scottie Reynolds (Herndon High School) led the Wildcats with 16 points. Freshman forward DaJuan Summers was the Hoyas’ leading scorer with 16 points.

Georgetown’s scoring problems started with its frontline of 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert and 6-9 forward Jeff Green. The Hoyas’ top-two leading scorers combined for just nine points — after entering the game averaging 24.3 points a contest — primarily because Georgetown’s guards could not get the ball inside. Hibbert, who was Georgetown’s leading scorer at 12.4 points a game before last night, failed to get off a shot attempt and finished with a season-low two points.

“We threw it away trying to throw it in, repeatedly,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “We tried to get it in to him, but we couldn’t. We have to do a better job of him getting position and feeding the post.”

Villanova’s 1-2-2 fullcourt zone defense forced Georgetown’s guards into a combined 12 turnovers, slowing the pace of the game considerably. Hoyas point guard Jonathan Wallace committed a career-high six turnovers.

“They threw different looks at us, it was different from what we were used to seeing early in the season,” Wallace said. “It caught us off-guard at times, but adjustments are going to have to be made going into the next game.”

Despite their sloppy play, the Hoyas led 30-24 at halftime. Georgetown (11-4, 1-1) was able to overcome its first-half ball handling gaffes with deadly 3-point shooting and Summers’ strong play. The Hoyas made four of 12 3-pointers in the half, with sophomore guard Jessie Sapp hitting on both of his attempts from behind the 3-point line. Meanwhile, Summers carried the Hoyas inside with a team-high 11 first-half points.

Even though the Hoyas had control of the game, Villanova coach Jay Wright felt the first 20 minutes were key for his team.

“Keeping it close for us in the first half was good because we were able to get a little comfortable,” Wright said.

The biggest lead of the game by either team was nine points when Wallace opened the second half with a 3-pointer from the right corner, giving the Hoyas a 33-24 lead. But Georgetown didn’t help itself from the free throw line, making only 14 of 21 attempts.

Georgetown now hits the road for three straight games, beginning Saturday at No. 7 Pittsburgh.

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