WASHINGTON - Georgetown took over first place in the Big East on Monday night with an old-fashioned, push-and-shove win worthy of the conference's legacy of physical play, forcing 17 turnovers and holding Villanova to 34 percent shooting in a 78-58 victory over the No. 4 Wildcats.
Freshman Isaac Copeland scored a career-high 17 points, and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera also had 17 for the Hoyas (13-5, 5-2), who pulled away early with a 17-0 run on the way to a 42-20 halftime lead and withstood a spirited second-half rally. Georgetown shot 60 percent in the first half and 51 percent for the game to move one-half game ahead of Villanova (17-2, 4-2) — and students celebrated by storming the court at the final whistle.
Ryan Arcidiacono scored 16 points for the Wildcats, including three 3-pointers that helped cut the second-half deficit from 26 to 12. The score was 62-50 with eight minutes remaining, but the Hoyas responded with a 6-0 run capped by a long jumper from Copeland.
The longtime rivals combined to commit 50 fouls, with multiple bodies crashing onto the floor on multiple occasions. Villanova's Daniel Ochefu fouled out with 4:13 to play and only four points to his credit — quite the climbdown from his career-high 21 against Penn on Saturday.
Villanova's only previous loss this season came in overtime against Seton Hall, but the Wildcats couldn't find an open look against the Hoyas' defense in the first half. JayVaughn Pinkston literally had the ball stolen out of his hands by Jabril Trawick, leading to a 3-pointer by Smith-Rivera in transition. Ochefu missed layups in traffic. In the first possession out of a timeout, Pinkston drove baseline and stepped out of bounds.
The Wildcats went more than seven minutes without a point as the Hoyas built a 30-11 lead. Copeland rammed home a dunk on an offensive rebound, part of his eight points during the 17-0 spurt.
The halftime break did nothing to slow Georgetown's momentum. Villanova's Darrun Hilliard picked up his third foul within a few seconds, and the Wildcats first possession of the second half ended with another turnover. With 15 1/2 minutes to play, Villanova had made only six field goals.
Then Villanova finally got some momentum. An 8-0 run prompted Georgetown coach John Thompson III to call a timeout, and the Hoyas had legitimate reason for worry after Arcidiacono started making 3-pointers — but the comeback soon ran out of steam.
Villanova: In their previous two wins, the Wildcats had assists on 44 of 51 field goals. On Monday, they had just eight assists on 14 buckets. ... Other horror stories from the stat sheet included 2-for-10 shooting from 3-point range in the first half, and just two fast-break points for the entire game.
Georgetown: Smith-Rivera was selected as the Big East player of the week on Monday. ... Fans chanted "Over-rated!" in the game's final minutes.
Villanova: Hosts Creighton on Sunday.
Georgetown: Visits Marquette on Saturday.