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March 10, 2016

'Nova 81, Georgetown 67: Arch, three-point shooting propel Wildcats into semis

In conference tournaments, the 1-8 matchup often proves tricky for the top-seeded team. Heck, it happened to Villanova just a couple of years ago against Seton Hall.

The early start, a half-empty arena (at least to begin the game), and hungry opponent who played the day before are a few factors that can contribute to an upset.

And whatever the formula that was used, Georgetown (15-18) kept it close with Villanova (28-4) for long stretches of Thursday afternoon’s Big East quarterfinal. About midway through the second half, though, Jay Wright’s team showed what it’s the favorite to cut down the nets at MSG.

‘Nova upped its season record against Georgetown to 3-0 with an 81-67 victory in New York City. The perimeter trio of Kris Jenkins, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Kris Jenkins combined for 59 points. The Wildcats advance to Friday night’s Big East semifinal, where they will play the winner of the Providence-Butler game.

How did Villanova get the win? The same way they always do: By spreading the defense out, beating perimeter defenders off the dribble, and making open shots. The Wildcats shot a sizzling 13-21 (61.9%) from beyond the arc.

In particular, Arcidiacono stepped up to the plate with 19 points, 6 assists, and two times that he recklessly threw his body into the stands. That line sums up Arch pretty well for you. The senior point guard made a couple of momentum-changing three-pointers in transition.

Something to keep an eye on for tomorrow night is the status of senior center Daniel Ochefu, who was taken out of the game in the second half after struggling moving on a sprained ankle he suffered in practice earlier this week. Possibly expect to see more Darryl Reynolds and small-ball lineups from Villanova.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann