Villanova opens Big East tourney against scuffling Georgetown


Villanova won six of its final eight regular-season games to secure the No. 6 seed in the Big East tournament.

The Wildcats (16-15, 10-10 Big East) advanced to the Final Four last year but will likely need to win this tournament to qualify for the NCAA Tournament again.

Villanova will face No. 11 seed Georgetown on Wednesday in New York, with the winner meeting third-seeded Creighton in the quarterfinal round on Thursday.

The Wildcats fell 71-59 to then-No. 14 UConn on Saturday in Philadelphia. Despite the loss, they immediately turned their focus to the conference tournament.

“Our mindset all year has been a game-by-game mindset,” first-year coach Kyle Neptune said. “We’ve got to go out and prepare for one team and then hopefully prepare for another team and then hopefully another team. I know that a lot of people focus on winning four games but for us, we go practice by practice by practice and game by game.”

Justin Moore, who ruptured his Achilles in last year’s Elite Eight against Houston, led Villanova with 17 points.

Eric Dixon, who leads the Wildcats in scoring (15.7) and rebounding (6.4), was named second-team all-Big East.

Georgetown will look to salvage a forgettable season with a victory over Villanova.

The Hoyas (7-24, 2-18) dropped their final three games to St. John’s, Providence and Creighton. They were pummeled 99-59 by the Bluejays last Wednesday.

Primo Spears led the Hoyas with 21 points, but they shot 21-of-66 (31.8 percent) from the field and were outplayed from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

“It was a disappointing effort to start,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. “As the head of the program, I have to take the responsibility. I didn’t get my guys ready to perform. I need to come up with a better game plan.”

Spears leads the Hoyas in scoring (15.9) and Brandon Murray is close behind at 13.9.

Murray scored only nine points on 3-of-11 shooting against Creighton.

Georgetown has won six of seven all-time meetings against Villanova in the Big East tournament.

–Field Level Media

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