Big East Semifinals: Villanova Escapes Late-game Denver Effort, Georgetown Downs Marquette

(Photo Courtesy of Villanova Athletics)

The Villanova endured a somewhat unexpectedly wild ending in their 15-14 defeat of the Denver Pioneers in the Big East Semifinals on Thursday night.

Following a timely timeout from Wildcats’ head coach Mike Corrado, Matt Campbell was able to break free from the defense and put in the assumed game-winner on an open net with 20 seconds remaining.

However, there would be a bit more action before the game clock struck zero. Alec Stathakis won the ensuing faceoff, headed up field with the rock, and found Casey Wilson for the score with 11 seconds remaining, making it a one-goal (15-14) game again.

A Villanova timeout proceeded the next faceoff, which Denver won and then called their final timeout of the game, but the clock had ticked down to zero and the Wildcats were on the field beginning to celebrate. The Denver timeout was upheld and two seconds were put back on the clock.

Jack Hannah chucked the ball towards the Villanova goal in one last attempt and the Wildcats’ defense was able to bat it down as the clock hit zero. This time, they could celebrate for real.

For much of the game, an ending of the sort would have seemed puzzling. Villanova came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, besting Denver 11-6 in the first half. JP Basile (3G/3A), Matt Campbell (5G), Patrick Daly (3G/1A), Luke Keating (1G/2A), and Brett Baskin (2G) combined for 10 of those first half scores for the Wildcats.

Aided by a 13-for-19 (68%) mark at the faceoff dot from Justin Coppola through the first three quarters of play, Villanova added on even more and headed into the fourth quarter firmly in the drivers seat, 14-8. However, that lead wasn’t so firm after all.

Within three minutes of the fourth getting underway, Jack Hannah, Ted Sullivan, and Alex Simmons had all found the back of the net for Denver to cut the lead to three (14-11). The Pioneers scored twice more with Hannah and Simmons each finding the back of the net before Campbell’s goal with 20 seconds left to stop the bleeding for Villanova.

Three fourth-quarter saves from Will Vitton, who ended the day with 13, was all the kept the Pioneers from tying the game or taking the lead in the fourth.

Alex Simmons ended the day with six goals and one assist for seven points. Jack Hannah (3G/1A) and Riley Curtis (1G/3A) each had four points.

Georgetown Gets Past Slow Start, Downs Marquette

Devon Cowan tied the game up at 2-2 late in the first quarter, giving Marquette momentum heading into the second frame. However, the Georgetown Hoyas were able to wake up and dominated the rest of the way.

Georgetown would go on to score six consecutive goals to take a 8-2 lead late in the second before Marquette was able to answer with a Bobby O’Grady score. The Hoyas continued to pour it on in the second half, outscoring the Golden Eagles 7-2 in those final frames.

Declan McDermott (4G) and Graham Bundy, Jr. (4G/2A) led Georgetown.

Georgetown and Villanova will face each other on Saturday at 4:30pm.

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