In 1985, the Villanova Wildcats played a near-perfect game to pull off a stunning upset over Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas to win the national title. It was Ewing’s last game as a collegian. Thirty-four years later, Ewing earned his biggest victory to date as a coach by knocking off the 17th-ranked Wildcats 85-73 before a crowd of 11,624 that braved ice and snow to come to Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
The Feb. 20 win was the first for the Hoyas (16-10, 6-7 Big East) over a ranked opponent since 2017, and Ewing’s first against a top-25 opponent in eight tries. Villanova (20-7, 11-3 Big East), having fallen to St. John’s the previous Sunday in a game they once led by 19 points, has now lost consecutive conference games for the first time since realignment in 2013, a span of 104 games. Villanova had won nine in a row and 12 of their last 13 games against the Hoyas, including a 33-point rout on the same floor just one year ago.
It was a complete effort from start to finish. The Hoyas never trailed after pulling ahead 9-8 early in the first half on a Josh LeBlanc dunk off a perfect feed from Jessie Govan. Villanova’s reliable seniors Phil Booth (26 points) and Eric Paschall (16 points) contributed over half of Nova’s scoring. But the Cats had no answer for Govan, the Hoyas’ 6-foot-10 center, whose 21 points tied him with Mac McClung for team leadership. Govan also had a game-high 11 rebounds.
Villanova, which normally lives or dies from the three-point line, was ice cold, making just nine of 38 tries. The Hoyas would shoot 51 percent overall from the field to Villanova’s 38 percent.
When the game was over, former Hoyas’ head coach John Thompson Jr. gave his old student Ewing a great big bear-hug.
The Hoyas next play at Creighton on Saturday, Feb. 23. The next home game will be against DePaul on Wednesday, Feb 27, at 7 p.m., again at Capital One Arena.
View Jeff Malet’s photos of the game from courtside by clicking on the photo icons below.