Gillespie’s career game carries No. 14 Villanova past Hoyas

Collin Gillespie hit six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 30 points and Eric Paschall had 24 to keep No. 14 Villanova unbeaten in the Big East with a 77-65 victory over Georgetown on Sunday.

The Wildcats (18-4) have won 10 straight games and are 9-0 in the conference for the first time since 2009-10. The Wildcats got rolling late at their off-campus home, the Wells Fargo Center. The Wildcats are 32-3 in the building since 2012-13 — and their win percentage boosted by six straight wins over the Hoyas in Philadelphia.

James Akinjo led the Hoyas (14-8, 4-5) with 19 points. The Hoyas had averaged 83.2 points on the season yet scored no field goals over a 6-minute stretch late in the game.

Phil Booth — who missed 10 of his first 12 shots — scored on a driving layup, then buried a 3 to snap a tie and give Villanova a 58-53 lead with 5:41 left. Villanova, which was called for four fouls on one possession late in the game, got a Gillespie bucket to stretch the lead and hold off the Hoyas.

The Wildcats were again a two-scorer show. Booth, who was leading Villanova this season with 18.7 points, mostly sat this one out until crunch time. He missed his first six 3-pointers while Paschall had some surprising help from Gillespie.

After Paschal converted a three-point play to give the Wildcats a 46-43 lead, he had combined with Gillespie to score 39 of their points. Gillespie, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, had flashes of scoring bursts this season. He scored a career-high 21 in a loss to Penn and 19 in a loss to Furman. But in a Big East battle, Gillespie was clutch in a win.

He sank two free throws for a three-point lead to cap one of the wilder sequences of the game: Booth was picked clean by Greg Malinowksi and the Hoya guard went for a fast-break layup. But Nova’s 6-7 forward Jermaine Samuels hustled back and stuffed Malinowksi on a block that brought the crowd to its feet. The Wildcats snagged the possession and Gillespie converted from the line.

And when the Hoyas again tied the game, Gillespie buried a 3 for the lead.

BIG PICTURE

Georgetown: The Hoyas had won two straight games but again had their Big East progress stunted by Villanova. The Wildcats have been a thorn for Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing since the 1980s. The Wildcats upset Ewing and the Hoyas in the 1985 national championship game.

Villanova: The Wildcats are playing for NCAA Tournament seeding and could earn one in the low single digits. Samuels was a key against the Hoyas with 16 rebounds and three blocks.

BRUNSON’S BACK

Two-time national champion Jalen Brunson, the 2018 AP Player of the Year, returned for a senior day celebration. Brunson played three seasons with the Wildcats and was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks. He received a framed No. 1 jersey and shared a hug before the game with coach Jay Wright. Brunson said he still keeps in touch with many of his teammates. “It was a flashback in about 30 seconds,” he said.

UP NEXT

Georgetown plays Wednesday at Providence.

The Wildcats host Creighton on Wednesday.

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