WASHINGTON - One week earlier, President Barack Obama was in attendance. On Saturday, the Georgetown Hoyas further displayed their drawing power by attracting more than 10,000 fans on a day when a fierce snowstorm blanketed the nation’s capital.
Those who trudged through an estimated 2 feet of snow were rewarded with a game they won’t soon forget.
Austin Freeman scored 25 points, Jason Clark had 24, and Georgetown forced 16 first-half turnovers in a 103-90 victory that ended No. 2 Villanova’s 11-game winning streak and ruined the Wildcats’ perfect Big East record.
The Hoyas (17-5, 7-4) led by as many as 23 points in the first half and 50-31 at halftime. Villanova (20-2, 9-1) cut the margin to 10 but never threatened to complete the comeback.
“That was not one of our better performances, but you’ve got to give Georgetown most of the credit. They jumped on us,” Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. “I think just getting down like that early here and playing that team from behind is really difficult to do.”
Villanova scored 59 points in the second half, but their bid to erase the deficit was blunted by Georgetown’s success at the foul line. The Hoyas finished 39 of 50, and more than half of their second-half points were the result of free throws.
“When you’re trying to speed the game up, trying to go for the ball and taking risks out there, you’re going to get called for fouls,” Wildcats guard Scottie Reynolds said.
Georgetown’s parade to the foul line was led by Greg Monroe, who went 11 of 14 and scored 19 points and had eight rebounds and six assists. Villanova scored only 17 points on 23 free throws.
Reynolds and Corey Fisher each scored 24 points for the Wildcats, whose winning streak included an 82-77 victory over Georgetown on Jan. 17. Villanova’s other loss was to Temple on Dec. 13.
“Just because we lost today, nothing changes,” Reynolds said. “We’ll do what we have to do to be the best team at the end of the season.”
Reynolds moved into fifth place on the school scoring list and Fisher become the 52nd player in Villanova history to reach 1,000 points.
Despite the intense snow outside, the crowd at Verizon Center was 10,387. Those in attendance included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former NFL commissioner and Georgetown grad Paul Tagliabue.
Obama showed up for the Hoyas’ win over Duke seven days earlier. He probably went through less difficulty to get to the arena than did the Georgetown students, several of whom walked 3 miles from campus to help fill the seats behind both baselines.
“For everyone to come out, it’s truly appreciated,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “We feed off our crowd. For everyone to make the effort to get down here, on behalf of our team and the institution, we want to thank them.”
Clark was 6 of 6 from the field and made all four of his 3-point tries during a 17-point first half. Seeking to rebound from a home loss to South Florida, the Hoyas shot 56 percent from the field, went 8 of 13 from beyond the arc and hit 12 of 13 free throws before halftime.
Villanova, in contrast, had more turnovers (16) than field goals (12) over the opening 20 minutes.
“Once we got down in the first half, then it’s kind of a different game,” Wright said. “You don’t want to play that team that way.”
Georgetown took control behind Freeman, who hit successive 3-pointers to spark a 15-2 run that made it 34-20. Wright was slapped with a technical foul during the surge, and Freeman made him pay by calmly making both free throws.
Minutes later, Clark made consecutive 3-pointers to begin a 16-4 surge that put Georgetown up 50-27.
Villanova had only two turnovers after halftime and twice got within 13 points early in the second half. It was 71-55 before Clark drilled a 3-pointer and Monroe added a dunk to make it a 21-point game with 9:13 left.
The Wildcats followed with a 13-3 spree to get to 79-68. Then, after Villanova closed to 81-71, a free throw by Freeman and a three-point play by Julian Vaughn pushed the margin to 14.
“We scrapped and fought, but it wasn’t enough,” Wright said.
CBT: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made it official that he'll be coaching Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and he'll also be with Duke at least that long, too.
BRACKETVille's Power 24
Ranking the top teams in college basketball based on performance and potential.
Latest from CollegeBasketballTalk
Coach K will remain at Duke until at least 20163 hr 49 min ago
Bill Self, redshirts, and the Power of Andrew Wiggins4 hr 38 min ago
College basketball videos
Griner comfortable with coming out
DPS: Richard Deitsch from Sports Illustrated joins the show to discuss Brittney Griner coming out and explains why it wasn't seen as a big deal.
Three cheers for college hoops
Take a look at cheerleaders in action from around the country.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.