Samuels scores 32, leads No. 3 Villanova over Georgetown

NCAA Men's Basketball

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP)Jermaine Samuels scored a career-high 32 points to lead No. 3 Villanova to an 84-74 victory over Georgetown on Sunday.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl added 14 points and Collin Gillespie had 12 for the Wildcats (12-2, 7-1 Big East), who rebounded from Wednesday’s loss at St. John’s.

Jahvon Blair scored 18 points and Qudus Wahab had 17 for Georgetown (5-9, 3-6).

Samuels, who had two points in 25 minutes against St. John’s, made 10 of 17 shots overall and 6 of 7 from 3-point range. He added six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Villanova originally was scheduled to host Xavier on Sunday, but that game was postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Musketeers’ program. Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing jumped at the opportunity to bump up the game, which had been scheduled for Feb. 17.

”When it was brought to my attention that we can play the game on Sunday, I said yes,” Ewing said. ”Who knows what’s going to happen next week? I’d rather get the game in.”

Georgetown took its last lead on Blair’s 3-pointer with 5:46 to play that made it 67-66. After a pair of free throws by Justin Moore gave Villanova a 72-69 advantage, Wahab’s two-handed dunk attempt went long off the back rim. Caleb Daniels drained a 3 on the Wildcats’ ensuing possession and Villanova was its way to its 10th win in 11 games.

Unlike the first contest on Dec. 11, when Georgetown led by as many as 18 points in the opening half before losing 76-63, it was Villanova that jumped out to a double-digit first-half advantage. Samuels’ 3-pointer with 8:50 left in the half made it 30-20.

But Georgetown clawed back, outscoring the Wildcats 15-3 over the next six minutes to go up 35-33 on Chudier Bile’s reverse layup. Villanova scored four of the final six before the break to enter the locker room ahead 37-35.

BIG PICTURE

Georgetown: After a three-week pause due to COVID-19, the Hoyas entered Sunday on a two-game winning streak, rebounding from a 3-8 start to beat Providence on Jan. 30 and No. 15 Creighton on Wednesday.

Ewing said the break gave Georgetown a chance to regroup. He said the Hoyas are finally clicking – and the coach has been getting the recipe right.

”I keep always talking about how I am the chef and I’m in there cooking up the gumbo,” he said before the game. ”Well, the gumbo is finally starting to taste right. I’m putting in all the right ingredients right now for that gumbo to taste right.”

Villanova: After the 70-59 loss at St. John’s, the Wildcats likely will drop a few spots in the AP Top 25 when the new poll is released Monday. Coach Jay Wright said that defeat is just a chance for Villanova to get better.

The Wildcats set a low mark for points, shooting percentage (32.3%), 3-point percentage (26.7) and turnovers (17) against the Red Storm.

”We’ve never been one to burn the tape,” Wright said. ”Each game we can learn from. Even when you win you can go back and look at things and try to get better. When you lose like that, it’s not just that there’s a lot to learn from, it’s kind of pounded into you. These issues defensively, these issues taking care of the ball offensively, playing against physicality, it really accentuates how important it is to improve in those areas.”

UP NEXT

Georgetown: Hosts Creighton on Tuesday night.

Villanova: Hosts Marquette on Wednesday night.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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