Created: Feb 20, 2019 (6:49PM)
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova will play its 27th game of 2018-19 on Wednesday evening against Georgetown (15-10 overall, 5-7 BIG EAST) at Capital One Arena. Deep into February, Wildcats head coach Jay Wright is convinced his team has made strides, even in the wake of a 71-65 loss Sunday at St. John's.
"We're coming together," Wright stated. "We won some games early in the Big East – like St. John's (Jan. 8) – that we probably shouldn't have won. Phil Booth just took that game over at the end.
"We played a game here against Creighton (Feb. 6) where we fouled a 3-point shooter in the last minute. He misses two of the three free throws at the end and we win the game in overtime. So we had a couple there we shouldn't have won.
"We see ourselves getting better even though it hasn't shown in wins lately."
The Wildcats dropped their first BIG EAST decision of the campaign on Feb. 9 at Marquette, 66-65. They pulled away to down Providence 85-67 on Feb. 13 before watching the Red Storm erase a 19-point first half lead at Madison Square Garden. Villanova connected on 18-of-54 (.333) field goal attempts on the day, struggling to put points on the board over the game's final 31 minutes.
Yet Wright saw positives in how Villanova acquitted itself before a sellout crowd of 19,812.
"I thought we played a great defensive game and the kids handled the atmosphere well," noted Wright. "We just turned the ball over too much."
Indeed, the Wildcats committed 16 turnovers, which matched their BIG EAST season high set against Providence on Jan. 6. Worse, eight of those were steals, thereby unleashing a potent Red Storm transition attack that gave St. John's a 26-5 edge in fast break points.
Villanova will get a chance to take another step forward when it visits Georgetown Wednesday night in a contest that will be called by Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery on FS1. Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby will also be on site in Washington, D.C. to bring the action to the Nova Nation on 610 ESPN Radio and Sirius channel 99 and XM channel 207.
The Wildcats got 30 points from sophomore guard Collin Gillespie to help earn a 77-65 victory over the Hoyas earlier this month in a game played at the Wells Fargo Center.
Though the outcome was not what they had hoped for, there were encouraging signs displayed Sunday. Villanova limited St. John's to .333 shooting on the day and helped keep star guard Shamorie Ponds in check (2-of-14 from the field).
Additionally, graduate transfer Joe Cremo enjoyed his most statistically productive day of the campaign, scoring 14 points to go with four rebounds, two assists and zero turnovers. The native of Scotia, N.Y., was +7 over the course of 19:49.
This is the second of three straight away from home for the Wildcats. The next part of that trilogy comes Sunday when Villanova visits Xavier at 1:30 p.m. at the Cintas Center (CBS and 610 Sports Radio).