Villanova played 39 good minutes of basketball today, but even that did not prove enough to beat Georgetown in a Big East basketball overtime game at the Spectrum.
The six bad minutes the Wildcats played proved fatal and enabled the top-ranked Hoyas to come away with a 52-50 victory. The only explanation the No. 16 Wildcats had for the bad spurt was that everything that worked the remainder of the game did not work during that stretch of the second half.
"They had that spurt and took us out of our game," said Villanova's Ed Pinckney. "We tried to hold our poise, but couldn't. With (7-foot Patrick) Ewing and (6-11 Ralph) Dalton, they packed it in on me. When we didn't hit any outside shots, that made it even easier for them."
Harold Jensen made a 15-foot jump shot from the right side with 9:35 left in regulation to give Villanova (9-3, 2-2 in the Big East) a 36-28 lead. The Wildcats did not get another field goal until Dwight Wilbur made an 18-footer with 3:12 left.
During that time, Georgetown (15-0, 4-0) forced four consecutive turnovers and scored 10 straight points. Billy Martin, who missed all four of his first-half shots, made three straight during the run, which was halted when Dwayne McClain made two free throws with 4:30 to go to retie the game at 38.
Wilbur's basket tied the game at 40, but for Villanova, which had led by 10 on several occasions in the first half, the momentum was gone.
The turnovers were chiefly a result of Villanova continually trying to force the ball inside to the 6-9 1/2 Pinckney, who came into the game averaging 17 points. But going up against Ewing, Pinckney finished with eight points on two-for-nine shooting.
Villanova shot 46 percent in the first half but made only four of 25 field goal attempts (16 percent) in the second half and just two of seven (29 percent) in overtime. McClain, who led the Wildcats with 18 points, made only three of 15 after the half.
"Our defense was the best we've played all year and I thought we executed our offense very, very, very good," said Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino. "But if you don't put the ball in the basket and they put the ball in the basket, there is going to be a swing."
Despite the poor shooting numbers, the Wildcats were still doing enough other things right to stay in the game. Their defense forced 23 turnovers and held the Hoyas to 43 percent shooting. With three seconds to go in regulation, the Wildcats had the ball and a chance to break the tie at 43. McClain's 30-footer rattled in and out of the rim, but the officials ruled it would not have counted anyway.
Reggie Williams stuffed a shot with 2:30 left in overtime for a 47-45 Georgetown lead and the Hoyas never lost the lead again.
Pinckney said Villanova was convinced the way to beat the Hoyas was to go inside and right at Ewing, who finished with five blocks and many intimidations. Pinckney felt no differently afterward.
"There is no doubt in my mind that was the right thing to do," he said. "Sometimes things work; sometimes they don't."