All those Villanova vigilantes kept chanting "Easy! Easy! Easy!" when the basketball was done tonight in the Palestra.
And Ed Pinckney, a sophomore forward known as "Easy Ed," said, "This was my finest hour."
Pinckney had a career-high 27 points, a career-high 22 rebounds and, most important, sank two free throws with eight seconds left to lead No. 11 Villanova to a 68-67 victory over No. 14 Georgetown in a Big East game.
Pinckney's free throws gave Villanova, which had trailed by 14 points in the first half, its first lead. The Hoyas were on a limb at this point with center Patrick Ewing, forward Bill Martin and guards Fred Brown and David Wingate having fouled out and no timeouts left.
Georgetown still had several chances to win.
But guard Michael Jackson, the Hoyas' only starter left, had his eight-footer from the base line blocked out of bounds by Pinckney with three seconds left. After Anthony Jones' inbounds pass was knocked out of bounds, only one second remained for Horace Broadnax's hurried 15-footer from the right base; it hit the side of the backboard.
Most in the sellout crowd of 9,208 swarmed the court, surrounding Villanova's little general of a coach, Rollie Massimino. His team risen to 14-3, 7-1 in the Big East, tying St. John's for first place, Massimino said, "It's the most intense game I have ever coached."
"The season is an endurance test, not one ball game," said Coach John Thompson, after his Hoyas' six-game winning streak was severed. Georgetown fell to 15-5, 6-2 in the Big East.
Georgetown dominated the first half and led, 42-32. That is when Wingate scored 12 of his Hoya-high 16 points, when reserve Jones scored seven points, getting two three-point plays, in a 10-2 stretch that earned Georgetown a 29-17 lead, and when Villanova center John Pinone (17 points) sat out the last 9:30 of the half with three fouls.
"We were scoring easy. We didn't have to get the ball to Patrick," said Thompson. "We capitalized on the way they played Patrick.
But Ewing, the 7-foot center who scored eight points in 22 foul-reduced minutes, was charged with his fourth foul with 14:03 left in the game, Hoyas leading, 46-39. Reserve Ralph Dalton entered.
Two and a half minutes later, Villanova was within 46-44. Jackson, who scored 15 points, then led a minisurge, helped by the return of Ewing, and the lead was back to 54-46 with 7:48 left.
Ewing fouled out with 6:45 to go. Brown replaced him and fouled out at 5:28, Hoyas still leading, 56-47. Martin fouled out at 4:08, the lead cut to 58-52. Wingate fouled out with 1:11 to go, the score 65-62.
At this moment, 9,208 turning this shoebox of a gym tipsy, Villanova trying to beat the Hoyas for the first time since 1965 and for the first time in six Big East Games, this was the Hoyas' lineup: Dalton, Jackson, Gene Smith, Broadnax and David Blue.
Pinone scored on a short bank, making it 65-64 with 39 seconds left. Broadnax countered with a breakaway layup off a long lob pass that beat the Villanova press. It was 67-64 with 24 seconds left.
Again, Pinone scored on a reverse, making it 67-66 with 18 seconds left.
Then Blue's inbounds pass was knocked away by Villanova guard Gary McLain. But Jackson reached out for the ball, accidentally knocking it out of bounds with 16 seconds left. Villanova took possession.
Pinckney shot from the lane and was fouled by Blue. "I just aimed for the middle of the hoop like I always do," Pinckney said. He made both.
"Last year, we won the conference and people said, 'Villanova is a great team, but they still haven't beaten Georgetown,' " Pinone said. "They can't say that now."