Villanova’s chance for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Big East Tournament championship ended Thursday in the quarterfinal round at Madison Square Garden.
Freshman guard Dante Harris drained two free throws with 4.7 seconds to play to give No. 8 seed Georgetown a 72-71 victory over the top-seeded Wildcats.
Villanova enters Selection Sunday with a 16-6 record and a likely No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament depending on how conference tournaments pan out.
The top free-throw shooting team in the Big East, the Wildcats hurt themselves from the line, sinking only 14 of 22 attempts. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who led all scorers with 26 points, went only 7 of 13. He made 1 of 2 from the line with 18.5 seconds to play to give his team a 71-70 lead.
After a timeout, Harris drove from the right wing into the lane and was fouled by Robinson-Earl. Villanova called timeout before Harris attempted the free throws, but he sank both to finish up a day in which the Hoyas (11-12) made all 23 of their foul shots.
The Wildcats held a 61-50 lead with 8 minutes, 53 seconds to play on a three-point basket by Justin Moore, who played 27 minutes despite being described earlier this week as doubtful by coach Jay Wright after suffering a sprained left ankle last Saturday at Providence.
However, the Wildcats made just 2 of 8 shots from the floor the rest of the way and connected on just half of their eight free-throw attempts. A 13-1 run by the Hoyas enabled them to grab a 63-62 lead with 5:07 to play on Jahvon Blair’s three-pointer and the advantage changed hands four times after that.
The Cats’ Jermaine Samuels added 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists.