Georgetown 66, Villanova 64
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP)—Twenty years after the same teams played one of the most memorable NCAA championship games ever, Georgetown enjoyed the winning end of a 66-64 score against Villanova.
Darrel Owens made the winning free throws with 0.1 seconds left Saturday to give the Hoyas a thrilling victory over Villanova on the same day the Wildcats honored their 1985 title team.
“I can’t say it’s how it was planned, but we’ll take it,” said Georgetown coach John Thompson III, the son of the losing coach in the game 20 years ago.
In that epic title game, it was the Wildcats who came up with the 66-64 win over the Hoyas on April 1, 1985, in Lexington, Ky. This one surely added another memorable moment to the rivalry.
Villanova (9-3, 2-2 Big East) seemingly sent this one into overtime when Wil Sheridan’s dunk with 2 seconds left tied it 64-all. With only time for a desperation play left, Ashanti Cook heaved his inbounds pass to Owens who was fouled by Curtis Sumpter on a driving layup attempt, as the sellout crowd howled in disbelief.
Wildcats coach Jay Wright argued Cook was on the court when he attempted his inbounds pass and the basket shouldn’t have counted, but the argument went nowhere.
“I didn’t think they took the ball out of bounds, but it shouldn’t have gotten to that point,” Wright said.
Owens, only a 57 percent free throw shooter, calmly made both foul shots to clinch the wild win for the Hoyas (11-4, 3-1 Big East).
“It was kind of a heads up play in thinking what Coach would probably want me to do in that situation,” Owens said. “It worked out. Ashanti made a great pass and we came away with the win.”
The win put a damper on Villanova’s 20th anniversary celebration weekend of its 1985 national championship. The school retired a jersey for former coach Rollie Massimino and honored the rest of the last Philly-area pro or college team to win a championship.
“Don’t ever forget this is a wonderful place to be,” Massimino told the crowd.
Then Massimino, who coached the Wildcats from 1973-1992, riled up the faithful, telling them “Villanova and Jay Wright and his crew are going to win it again!”
Not with games like this one.
The younger Thompson said the win—even with the eerie score—did nothing to erase what happened 20 years ago.
“It was a great time for Villanova, a great time for the Big East, but I can honestly say I have not thought about that too much,” Thompson said. “I don’t know if it was redemption for that game.”
Jeff Green had 16 points and 12 rebounds, Brandon Bowman scored 11 points and Cook had 10 for the Hoyas, who have won seven of eight.
Villanova got an unexpected boost from Sumpter, who scored 14 points after missing the last two games with a sprained right ankle. Sumpter played with a brace and said he felt no pain.
Allan Raye led Villanova with 17 points and Mike Nardi added 12.
The Wildcats played without Jason Fraser, who had surgery on his broken right hand Friday and could miss 3 to 6 weeks.
Villanova, which survived a harrowing experience on its flight home from Providence when the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in snowy Rhode Island early Wednesday, lost for the second time in three games and plays No. 2 Kansas on Saturday.
The Wildcats dominated early in the first half, using a trapping defense to score 17 points off nine Georgetown turnovers. They used a 15-4 run to stretch the lead to 13 until the Hoyas started chipping away.
The Hoyas finally tied the game midway through the second half, then went ahead for the first time since the opening minutes when two free throws by Ed Reed made it 57-56.
Georgetown twice let the Wildcats tie—including Sheridan’s dunk—and survived a couple of could-have-been costly turnovers in the final minutes.
The Hoyas were 15-of-18 from the line; Villanova went 19-for-25.
“We’ve got to regroup, come back and forget about this one,” Wright said. “They just made the last play. There’s a lot of things we could’ve done.”
Georgetown played for the first time at the Pavilion and was on Villanova’s campus for the first time since March 6, 1950.
Other than the final score, this game showed little resemblance to the 1985 epic when there was no shot clock or 3-point line. The Wildcats took more shots in the first half (30) on Saturday than they did the entire championship game (28) and each team made five 3-pointers.