Sitting at third in the Big East conference, the Georgetown men’s basketball team fought hard in two crucial tests, splitting two road contests against the No. 14 Villanova Wildcats on Sunday and the Providence Friars on Wednesday.

The Hoyas (15-8, 5-5 Big East) gave the defending national champion Wildcats (19-4, 10-0 Big East) a tough fight in their Sunday clash.

At the end of the first half, the Hoyas led 34-33 after freshman guard James Akinjo nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer. Akinjo led Georgetown in scoring, with 19 points in 35 minutes of play, earning him Big East freshman of the week honors.

With 7:27 left in the game, Georgetown and Villanova were tied at 53-53. However, the Wildcats dashed the Hoyas’ hopes with an 8-0 run in the next three minutes.

Villanova led by 14 points with 2:28 remaining and cruised to the finish line, defeating Georgetown 77-65.

Georgetown struggled to stop some of Villanova’s top scorers in the game. Sophomore guard Colin Gillespie crushed the Hoyas, hitting six three-pointers and scoring a career-high 30 points. Senior forward Eric Paschall also chipped in 24 points for the Wildcats’ win.

For the game, the Hoyas shot under 34 percent from the floor. Senior center and leading scorer Jessie Govan was scoreless for the first time all season and played only seven minutes as he struggled in foul trouble.

Senior center Trey Mourning, who played 27 minutes in relief of Govan, scored 12 points and secured six rebounds off the bench.

GUHOYAS | TREY MOURNING FINISHES WITH AUTHORITY FOR 2 OF HIS 12 POINTS OFF THE BENCH

Following the chance to upset one of the nation’s best, Georgetown visited Providence (13-10, 3-7 Big East), trying to sweep the season series after defeating the Friars on Jan. 12.

The Hoyas came out strong, racing to a 11-4 lead after a three-point jumper by sophomore forward Jamorko Pickett in the opening minutes.

After Providence led by one with 8:26 left, the teams combined for a four-and-a-half minute scoring drought before Georgetown senior forward Kaleb Johnson made a layup to give the Hoyas the lead.

After another tie game with 1:46 left in the half, Georgetown ended the first half on a 7-0 run, capped by a dunk and three-pointer by Govan. The Hoyas went into the break leading 34-27.

In the second half, the Blue and Gray soon gained a double-digit lead, going up 10 points after Govan’s layup with 18:55 left. The Friars cut the deficit right back to single digits and soon to 47-43 with 12:56 left.

Thanks to 44 percent shooting from three-point range in the second half, the Hoyas extended their lead again to double digits and took a strong grip on the contest. With 9:27 to play, freshman guard Mac McClung hit a three-pointer, extending the team’s lead to 12.

With 5:40 to play and Georgetown’s lead at a comfortable nine points, Pickett nailed a high-arching three pointer to put the Hoyas up 12. Georgetown cruised to the finish line, eventually defeating Providence 76-67.

All five Georgetown starters scored in double figures. Freshman forward Josh LeBlanc led with a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds. Govan and McClung scored 13 points each, while Pickett scored 12 and Akinjo added 10.

For the game, Georgetown held Providence to 18 percent shooting from three-point range and outrebounded the Friars by a wide margin of 50 to 33. The Hoyas played fast, scoring 15 points on fast-break opportunities and 15 points off Friar turnovers.

The win marked the first time Georgetown had defeated Providence in Rhode Island since 2012. The victory also improves the Hoyas’ Big East record to 5-5, which sits the squad tied for third in the conference.

Following their win, the Hoyas will head home to host the Butler Bulldogs (13-10, 4-6 Big East) this Saturday. Georgetown started its Big East season with an 84-76 victory over Butler on Jan. 2.

Televised coverage for Saturday’s matinee can be found on Fox Sports Network and MASN2 starting at noon. The game will also be aired locally on The Team 980 FM.

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