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Villanova holds off Georgetown

The Villanova basketball modus operandi has become: Team builds big lead, team gives up almost all of big lead, team wins game.

The Villanova basketball modus operandi has become: Team builds big lead, team gives up almost all of big lead, team wins game.

Jay Wright is OK with the last part of it. The second-ranked Wildcats saw a 17-point lead shrink to two in just over seven minutes of playing time Tuesday night, but a 9-1 run down the stretch helped fuel their 75-64 victory over Georgetown in a Big East game at the Pavilion.

He's not totally fine with the other two conditions. After the game, he talked of how the Wildcats (23-2, 10-2 Big East) need to improve their concentration and develop more maturity individually and collectively, but then conceded that this could be his team's personality.

"They're just loose guys," the Villanova coach said. "They're just fun-loving, loose guys. They're great guys. You can see, they get down, they blow leads, it doesn't affect them. They don't panic. It just might be the personality of this team."

That was exemplified by Josh Hart against the Hoyas (13-12, 4-8). Hart scored 17 points in the first half, then didn't score again for more than 16 minutes in the second half, missing his first seven attempts from the field.

But Hart sparked the winning rally with a three-pointer, his first basket of the half, with 1 minute, 26 seconds remaining, and closed it with a layup, making it 70-60 with 45 seconds to play.

"I definitely agree with him," Hart said, referring to his coach. "It starts with the three seniors. First of all, we've got to demand that of ourselves, first and foremost, just playing Villanova basketball, and demanding that from the younger guys and being role models for them in that aspect. So it starts with the three seniors and trickles down."

Hart finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Donte DiVincenzo, who was the Villanova offense for nearly a four-minute stretch in the second half, when he scored nine straight points, added 15 and six boards.

Villanova had given up huge chunks of a lead in each of its previous two games, seeing St. John's reduce a 26-point advantage to nine on Saturday, and Providence cut a 13-point lead to two late in the second half last Wednesday.

DiVincenzo's last points in his personal run, a layup off a steal, gave his team a 56-39 lead with 11 minutes left to play.

But the Cats struggled with their shooting, making just 5 of their first 21 in the half after shooting 63 percent in the first 20 minutes, and the Hoyas rallied with a 12-2 run that closed the deficit to 58-51 on a jumper from the side by Rodney Pryor (20 points).

After Darryl Reynolds converted both ends of a one-and-one for a 60-51 lead, the Hoyas ran off the next seven points, five from L.J. Peak (21 points), and Pryor's runner in the lane cut the margin to two, 60-58, with 3:50 remaining.

An exchange of free throws made it 61-59 with 2:18 to play before Villanova regrouped for its final push en route to its 48th straight win at the Pavilion. Hart's three-pointer was its first field goal in a 7:45 span.

"We started getting stops," Hart said. "You've got to give them credit. They were getting that lead down and they got it down to two. Then we put together a couple of stops and that really fueled that last couple of minutes on the offensive end."

The Hoyas were involved in a bus accident on I-95 Monday afternoon on their way to Philadelphia. Reserve guard Tre Campbell was unable to play because of injuries he suffered in the crash, and coach John Thompson III was limping noticeably on the sideline after banging his left knee.