Ruthie Braunstein/The Hoya Senior center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje grimaces during a break in Georgetown’s 103-79 loss to Providence on Saturday.

For a while, it seemed Georgetown was back on track.

Last week, the Hoyas rebounded from three straight Big East losses with a solid 94-77 win over West Virginia, then avenged an earlier loss to Pittsburgh by defeating the Panthers 81-67. Georgetown was poised to take control of a season that had veered off-course in recent weeks.

But a devastating 103-79 road loss to Providence on Saturday and a disheartening 59-56 loss to Villanova at MCI Center last night left No. 18 Georgetown (19-5, 6-5 Big East) wondering how a season that started off so well could go so wrong.

“It’s hard to think about it right now,” junior point guard Kevin Braswell said. “It’s hard to take that we blew another game.”

The loss to Villanova (15-8, 6-5 Big East) was particularly frustrating because Georgetown overcame a 14-point deficit in the first half, eventually claiming the lead in the second half.

Villanova started the game with a determined offense, spearheaded by junior center Michael Bradley, who scored 13 of the Wildcats’ 29 first-half points. The Wildcat offense was quick, marked by short passes and swift ball movement.

Defensively, the Wildcat’s zone defense didn’t challenge the Hoyas as other teams have. Instead, Georgetown often found itself with open shots but failed to capitalize on many of them in the first half, going 8 of 28 overall and 4 of 14 from behind the three- point arc.

Villanova spent much of the first half racking up points in the paint, jumping to an early lead. With two minutes left in the half, sophomore forward Victor Samnick made a layup off an assist by sophomore guard Demetrius Hunter that put the Hoyas within 10 points, 29-19. On Georgetown’s next possession, sophomore forward Ricky Wright fouled senior center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, sending him to the line.

Boumtje-Boumtje sank both free throws, narrowing the gap to 29-21. Bradley turned the ball over on the inbounds play, putting Georgetown back on the attack. Hunter hit a three with 36 seconds left to cut Villanova’s lead to 29-24 heading into halftime.

The second half saw the Hoyas come from behind, capitalizing on their momentum from earlier in the game. Two fouls by freshman Derrick Snowden in the opening minutes put freshman forward Gerald Riley and Boumtje-Boumtje on the line, where both sank their foul shots to bring the score to 29-28.

Boumtje-Boumtje grabbed the rebound off a missed three by sophomore guard Gary Buchanan, then pitched it downcourt to Braswell on the fast break, who handed it off to senior forward Nathaniel Burton for an easy layup, tying the game at 31. This time, Bradley answered with a slam dunk and gave Villanova a 33-31 lead.

But Burton came right back with another layup, this time off a rebound and assist from Hunter.

With the game tied at 33, Buchanan turned the ball over to Braswell who went up for an easy layup and the Hoyas took a 35-33 lead with 14 minutes to play. With solid offensive play from freshman forward Mike Sweetney and some key three-pointers by Riley and senior guard Anthony Perry, the Hoyas maintained the lead for almost 10 minutes.

Villanova never trailed too far behind though, and when freshman forward Andreas Bloch hit a three with five minutes in the half, the Wildcats jumped to a 49-47 lead.

A Braswell jumper and two foul shots by Sweetney tied the game again at 51, but a jumper from sophomore forward Aaron Matthews put the Wildcats in front 53-51.

After losing the lead, Georgetown got desperate with its shot attempts, tossing up six unsuccessful three-pointers in the final three minutes of the game. The Hoyas were not ready to give up easily, and a three-pointer by Hunter with eight seconds left gave Georgetown added momentum and one last chance.

Perry quickly stopped the clock on the inbounds play with a foul against Buchanan, who went to the line. Buchanan missed his first shot, ending his streak of 73 consecutive free throws made, an NCAA Division I record, but made his second to put Villanova up three, 59-56.

Braswell took the inbounds pass and quickly dribbled downcourt, where he tossed up a three-pointer at the buzzer that bounced off the rim, and Villanova took the 59-56 win.

Georgetown shot 18 of 67 in the contest, their lowest percentage of the season.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed in how we finished the game,” Head Coach Craig Esherick said, citing poor shot selection as part of the Hoyas’ downfall.

But if shot selection affected Georgetown last night, it certainly didn’t rub off on Providence Saturday night, when the Friars seemed to hit almost every shot they took. Providence shot 33 of 59 overall and a remarkable 14 of 19 three-pointers en route to the 103-79 rout.

The Friars overpowered the Hoyas, quickly jumping to an early lead and dominating the rest of the game. Georgetown entered the half down 61-35, allowing Providence to set a Big East record for most points scored in the first half. The Hoyas were unable to check the Friars on defense, and the second half continued in the same manner as the first.

With the near-flawless outside shooting of John Linehan and Abdul Mills and the powerful inside presence of center Karim Shabazz, the Friars’ options were limitless. Georgetown’s defense simply couldn’t contain Providence.

Though the Hoyas shot almost 46 percent for the game, with 17-point performances from both Hunter and Sweentey, it wasn’t enough to combat the Friars’ efforts on the other end.

“I can’t remember being beaten this bad,” Esherick said after the Providence loss.

Last night, Esherick avoided commenting on how the six losses might affect the Hoyas’ quest for a NCAA Tournament berth.

“At this point, I don’t want to talk about being on the bubble or anything related to the tournament,” he said. He also stressed that the time has come for the Hoyas to regroup and refocus.

“We’ll see who’s ready to work and who’s ready to jump ship,” Esherick said.

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