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Booth spurs late Villanova run as Wildcats beat Georgetown, 77-65, for 10th straight win

The Wildcats had their hands full with the Hoyas, who led 34-33 at halftime and were locked in a 53-53 tie before Booth sparked a 16-2 run that helped the Cats gain the victory.

Villanova's Jermaine Samuels reacts after a Georgetown foul in the second half at the Wells Fargo Center.
Villanova's Jermaine Samuels reacts after a Georgetown foul in the second half at the Wells Fargo Center.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

Villanova provided a day of unusual basketball for the folks who came out Sunday to Wells Fargo Center, and picked up its 10th consecutive victory in a 77-65 win over Georgetown.

Collin Gillespie, who had only one 20-point game in his previous 52 in a Wildcats uniform, broke out for 30 against the Hoyas and knocked down six of the nine three-point baskets notched by the 14th-ranked Wildcats (18-4, 9-0 Big East).

Phil Booth, the team’s leading scorer, started 2 of 12 and went more than 36 minutes without making a three-pointer, but he hit a pair of threes to help spark a 16-2 run that proved decisive.

Perhaps the most amazing statistic, however, came from sophomore Jermaine Samuels, who took one shot from the floor, scored three points, and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, the most by a Wildcat since Daniel Ochefu’s 16 in an early-season 2015-16 game against East Tennessee State.

And the only shot by the 6-foot-7 Samuels, a successful dunk with 1 minute, 3 seconds to play, came after he had collected 15 boards against the Hoyas (14-8, 4-5).

“That’s a helluva performance,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “He made a couple of great passes where he had good shots and he got his teammates some great shots. That was a big-time game. If you measure efficiency, I’ve got to think he was the most efficient player on the floor for us.”

Samuels, who now has five shots in his last four games covering 100 minutes of playing time, was a team-best plus-16.

“I would just say that I was trying to help out my teammates,” he said of his Rodman-esque performance. “Georgetown has a lot of big guys who crash the glass, and I wanted to make sure that I set the tone for my teammates and got as many rebounds as I could.”

On defense, Samuels and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree combined to shut out Jessie Govan, the Hoyas’ top scorer with a 19.4-point average. The 6-foot-10 Govan picked up two fouls in the opening 4:19, got his third later in the first half, and fouled out with 4:53 to play after missing all nine of his shots from the floor in 13 minutes.

“I just wanted to be physical as much as I can within the rules, playing him straight up and making things difficult for him,” Samuels said.

With Booth struggling, two points on 1-of-7 shooting, Gillespie scored 15 and Paschall added 11 as the Wildcats trailed, 34-33, at the half. The pair combined for 18 of Villanova’s first 20 points in the second half and the game was tied at 53 – the sixth and final deadlock – with 7:27 left after a three by James Akinjo, Georgetown’s top scorer with 19.

The Hoyas, however, went the next 5:49 without a field goal and Booth found his scoring touch. He made a layup and connected on his first three-pointer on back-to-back possessions. Later, he knocked down another three to give the Cats a 66-55 lead with 3:52 remaining.

Gillespie’s free throw with 2:28 left made it a 14-point margin and Georgetown got no closer than eight.

“I know it would look like Phil didn’t make shots,” Wright said, “but they were just really good defensively, really physical, long. I think they did a great job on ball screens.”

Gillespie gave credit to the seniors, Paschall (24 points) and Booth (14), for the winning run.

“It comes with experience,” he said. “Having Phil and E on our team really helps. Those guys have been in tough games throughout their careers. So it’s just the learning experience for us. We’re trying to grow as much as we can every day.”