Villanova Postgame Blog

March 3, 2009

It was an escape.

 

No two ways about it, what happened Saturday between Georgetown and Villanova was not a pretty game of basketball. The teams combined for 40-plus turnovers, with the Hoyas supplying 25. With the score 52-50 with five minutes remaining, you’d expect a tight finish. What you wouldn’t expect is that four minutes and about fifteen possessions later, you’d be looking at the exact same score. But when the defensive slugfest came to an end, the Hoyas were 56-54 victors. And, fittingly, for all the complaining by Villanova fans about last year’s game—when Corey Stokes was called for a bump on Jon Wallace 80 feet from the basket with 0.1 second remaining in a tied game—this year, they would have been desperate to foul the Georgetown point guard as he pushed the ball up the sideline.

 

While the debate over the merits of 07-08 Jon Wallace vs. 08-09 Chris Wright as the Hoyas’ main facilitator continues, one common theme is that Chris shows a second gear that the walkon from Alabama never had. And it showed Saturday afternoon.

 

With 3.5 seconds left on the clock, Chris did what needed to be done. He escaped.

 

And with that the Hoyas got out of Wachovia with a surprising win. And maybe started their own Great Escape.

 

As a current senior whose Georgetown basketball historical frame of reference is the last three seasons, this year has been a little hard to wrap my head around. Based off previous years, I—and probably the rest of the Class of 2009—figured a Sweet Sixteen was a nice bar to set for the season, challenging for the Big East regular season or Tournament championships a reasonable expectation, and an NCAA Tournament berth a given. 

 

Now that’s all been thrown out the window, I’m trying to find a decent corollary to explain this year. The best one I can think of is—wait for it—Fulham F.C.’s 2007-2008 season in the English Premier League. Entering the last month of the season, the Cottagers had taken only 24 points from 33 matches, managing only four wins and enduring a 12-match winless streak. Relegation to the lower-level Championship was a mathematical near-certainty. And yet, over five weeks, Fulham put together four wins, three away from home, and when Danny Murphy headed home a 76th-minute winner at Portsmouth, Fulham managed to stay up in the Premiership for another season (and probably earned themselves another $60 million in TV revenue, but that’s neither here nor there.)

 

The Great Escape, as the season has come to be known, is not only evidence of the excitement throughout the league when the prospects of being relegated are just as pressing as those of winning a championship—although that’s a discussion for another forum—but proof that on occasion, a team can reverse a bad stretch, grit out a victory (in each victory, the game-winner was scored in the last 15 minutes), and make it back to their rightful spot: the Premier League, or the NCAA Tournament.

 

One further corollary: Over the course of the five-week stretch, had Fulham started Carlos Bocanegra instead of leaving him on the bench, they would have had four Americans in the starting lineup, just like the Hoyas.

 

We’re not there yet. There are a number of things that still must be fixed in the Hoyas’ remaining two games against St. John’s and DePaul. But Saturday afternoon, as we left Wachovia to board the buses back to D.C., visions of turnovers and Wildcat trips to the free-throw line still swirling in my head, only one thing really mattered:

 

We escaped.

Hoya Saxa,
Paul Campbell (MSB 09)
Generation Roy

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December 1
Individual Results
Navy Lidlifter
Annapolis, Md.
RECAP
December 2
L, 1-0
USC
Avaya Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)

ESPNU
December 2
Prelims
Bucknell Invitational
Lewisburg, Pa.

Live Results
Friday Prelims Results
December 3
All Day
Navy Invitational
Annapolis, Md.
December 3
All Day
Bucknell Invitational
Lewisburg, Pa.

Live Results
December 4
1:30 PM
Elon
Verizon Center

FS1
106.7 FM
December 4
2:00 PM
Delaware
Newark, Del.
December 4
All Day
Bucknell Invitational
Lewisburg, Pa.

Live Results
December 8
7:00 PM
George Mason
McDonough Arena
December 9
All Day
Hoosier Open
Bloomington, Ind.
December 9
All Day
Hoosier Open
Bloomington, Ind.
December 10
2:00 PM
La Salle
Miami, Fla.

ESPN2
106.7 FM
December 11
2:00 PM
Alabama
McDonough Arena
December 17
12:00 PM
Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y.

ESPN
106.7 FM
December 22
6:30 PM
UNC Greensboro
Verizon Center

FS1
106.7 FM
December 28
8:30 PM
Marquette
Milwaukee, Wis.

FS1
99.1 FM
December 28
2:00 PM
DePaul
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch
December 30
2:00 PM
Marquette
McDonough Arena

MASN2/BEDN
Watch
December 31
11:00 AM
Xavier
Verizon Center

FS1
99.1 FM
December 31
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 1
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 4
7:00 PM
Providence
Providence, R.I.

CBSsn
99.1 FM
January 4
7:00 PM
Villanova
Villanova, Pa.

BEDN
Watch
January 6
TBA
Pepperdine women only
Malibu, Calif.
January 7
12:00 PM
Butler
Verizon Center

FOX
99.1 FM
January 8
2:05 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

BEDN
Watch
January 9
6:30 PM
St. Johns
Verizon Center

FS1
106.7 FM
January 10
7:00 PM
Providence
Providence, R.I.

BEDN
Watch
January 13
7:00 PM
St. Johns
McDonough Arena

FS1
January 13
5:00 PM
George Washington/Bowling Green
Washington, D.C. (GW)
January 14
12:00 PM
UConn
Verizon Center

FOX
99.1 FM
January 14
1:00 PM
American
McCarthy Pool
January 14
All Day
Nittany Lion Challenge
State College, Pa.
January 14
All Day
Nittany Lion Challenge
State College, Pa.
January 15
2:00 PM
Seton Hall
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch
January 16
9:00 PM
Providence
Verizon Center

FS1
106.7 FM
January 16
1:00 PM
Rider
McCarthy Pool
January 20
8:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio

FS1
January 20
All Day
NY Gotham Cup
Staten Island, N.Y.
January 20
All Day
NY Gotham Cup
Staten Island, N.Y.
January 21
1:00 PM
Drexel
Philadelphia, Pa.
January 22
2:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio

CBS
106.7 FM
January 22
1:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.

BEDN
Watch
January 25
7:00 PM
Creighton
Verizon Center

FSN
106.7 FM
January 27
1:00 PM
Drexel
Philadelphia, Pa.
January 27
5:30 PM
Drexel
Philadelphia, Pa.
January 27
All Day
Penn State National Open
State College, Pa.
January 27
All Day
Penn State National Open
State College, Pa.
January 28
8:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.

CBSsn
106.7 FM
January 28
1:00 PM
Villanova
McDonough Arena

BEDN
January 28
All Day
Penn State National Open
State College, Pa.
January 28
All Day
Penn State National Open
State College, Pa.
January 28
TBA
Penn
Philadelphia, Pa.
January 31
9:00 PM
DePaul
Rosemont, Ill.

FS1
106.7 FM
February 3
12:00 PM
Providence
McDonough Arena

BEDN
February 3
All Day
Armory Invitational
New York, N.Y.
February 3
All Day
Armory Invitational
New York, N.Y.
February 4
12:00 PM
Seton Hall
Verizon Center

FS1
106.7 FM
February 4
All Day
USA Jr. Cross Country Championships
Bend, Ore.
February 4
TBA
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
February 4
All Day
USA Jr. Cross Country Championships
Bend, Ore.
February 4
All Day
Armory Invitational
New York, N.Y.
February 4
All Day
Scarlet & White Invitational
Boston, Mass.
February 4
All Day
Scarlet & White Invitational
Boston, Mass.
February 4
All Day
Armory Invitational
New York, N.Y.
February 5
1:00 PM
Creighton
McDonough Arena

BEDN
February 5
TBA
Harvard
Boston, Mass.
February 7
7:00 PM
Villanova
Villanova, Pa.

FS1
106.7 FM
February 8
TBA
Morgan State
Arlington YMCA
February 10
7:00 PM
Seton Hall
South Orange, N.J.

BEDN
February 10
TBA
Florida International
Miami, Fla.
February 10
11:00 AM
Massachusetts
Washington, D.C.
February 10
All Day
FasTrack National Invitational
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 10
All Day
FasTrack National Invitaitonal
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 10
All Day
Iowa State Classic
Ames, Iowa
February 10
All Day
Iowa State Classic
Ames, Iowa
February 11
12:00 PM
Marquette
Verizon Center

FOX
106.7 FM
February 11
10:00 AM
Providence
Providence, R.I.
February 11
4:00 PM
Monmouth N.J.
Washington, D.C.
February 11
All Day
Liberty Elite Invitational
Lynchburg, Va.
February 11
All Day
Valentine Invitational
Boston, Mass.
February 11
All Day
Liberty Elite Invitational
Lynchburg, Va.
February 11
All Day
Valentine Invitational
Boston, Mass.
February 11
All Day
Iowa State Classic
Ames, Iowa
February 11
All Day
Iowa State Classic
Ames, Iowa
February 12
2:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.

BEDN
February 15
TBA
Temple
Arlington YMCA
February 17
7:00 PM
Butler
McDonough Arena

MASN2/BEDN
February 17
6:00 PM
Davidson
Davidson, N.C.
February 18
2:00 PM
Davidson
Davidson, N.C.
February 18
All Day
Penn State Tune-Up
State College, Pa.
February 18
All Day
Alex Wilson Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind.
February 18
All Day
Penn State Tune-Up
State College, Pa.
February 18
All Day
Alex Wilson Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind.
February 19
3:30 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

FS1
106.7 FM
February 19
2:00 PM
Xavier
McDonough Arena

BEDN
February 19
1:00 PM
Davidson
Davidson, N.C.
February 22
7:00 PM
DePaul
Verizon Center

CBSsn
106.7 FM
February 22
3:00 PM
Coppin State
Baltimore, Md.
February 22
11:00 AM
Morgan State
Arlington YMCA
February 23
All Day
Day 1
Long Island, N.Y.
February 23
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 24
8:00 PM
Marquette
Milwaukee, Wis.

BEDN
February 24
4:00 PM
USC Upstate
Spartanburg, S.C.
February 24
12:00 PM
George Washington
Washington, D.C.
February 24
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 24
All Day
Day 2
Long Island, N.Y.
February 24
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 25
12:00 PM
St. Johns
New York, N.Y.

FSN
106.7 FM
February 25
2:00 PM
Wofford
Spartanburg, S.C.
February 25
All Day
Kiawah Spring Invitational
Kiawah Island, Sc.
February 25
All Day
Day 3
Long Island, N.Y.
February 25
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Staten Island, N.Y.
February 26
1:00 PM
DePaul
Chicago, Ill.

FS1
February 26
12:00 PM
Dayton
Spartanburg, S.C.
February 26
All Day
Day 4
Long Island, N.Y.
February 26
All Day
Kiawah Spring Invitational
Kiawah Island, Sc.
February 27
All Day
Kiawah Spring Invitational
Kiawah Island, Sc.
February 28
6:30 PM
Seton Hall
Newark, N.J.

FS1
106.7 FM
February 28
2:00 PM
Navy
Annapolis, Md.
February 28
All Day
Kiawah Spring Invitational
Kiawah Island, Sc.
March 1
2:30 PM
George Washington
Arlington, Va.