AROUND THE CITY
Villanova had been rolling right along, but the Big East has a way of humbling everybody sooner or later. First, the Wildcats lost at Providence and then they were beaten by Georgetown, 69-66, Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center. To be more specific, the Wildcats (17-4, 5-3 Big East) were done in by a wonderful performance from the Hoyas' Austin Freeman (30 points, six assists, one turnover).
G-Town resides just outside the Daily News Top-15, with spots opening up daily.
LOST IT AT THE LINE
Villanova can certainly lose to Georgetown (16-5, 5-4). In fact, it has been happening regularly in recent seasons. But one would not think 'Nova, a really good foul-shooting team, would lose it at the line, But it did. G-Town was 16-for-17, while 'Nova was 17-for-24.
SPEAKING OF LINES
After the Wildcats made a terrific late comeback in no time flat, Freeman made sure it did not hold with his shooting late on the shot clock and from the foul line, as well as a terrific pass out of a trap for a dunk. Still, Villanova had a chance to tie at the finish.
Antonio Pena, who had attempted just 11 threes in four seasons, found himself with the ball. He dribbled behind the line. The only problem was that it was the NBA line. He still almost made it.
SAME OLD STORY
Once Lavoy Allen chose Temple over Saint Joseph's, the balance of power tilted toward the Owls. It continued in a Saturday morning game at the Palestra. Temple led all the way and won, 72-54.
The Owls (15-5, 5-2 Atlantic 10) got 17 points from Scootie Randall as well as 15 points and 12 rebounds from Allen, his second double-double of the week. Playing without point guard Juan Fernandez (sore left knee), Temple shot 25-for-51 (49 percent) and had just eight turnovers.
St. Joe's (5-16, 0-7) went 0-for-January. Tay Jones had 19 for the Hawks. Freshman high-flyer Ron Roberts shot 8-for-11 and had 17 points. Hawks freshman Langston Galloway, so solid early in the season, appears to have hit the freshman wall. He is shooting just 12-for-48 over his last six games.
PERFECT SO FAR IN IVY
It is very early, but perfect is always good. Penn got the early lead on Yale on Friday at the Palestra and held on nicely to win. Then the Quakers had to make a big comeback against Brown on Saturday and were able to do that, too, winning, 80-78, in overtime.
Penn (8-8, 2-0 Ivy) trailed 59-49 with 12 1/2 minutes left, but came all the way back. Jack Eggleston (career-high tying 25 points, 12 rebounds) shot 11-for-15 from the field. Brown is 7-11, 0-4.
THE IVY STORY
Harvard (4-0), Penn and Princeton (2-0) are the only unbeaten teams. We will know a lot more about the race in 8 days. Harvard is at Princeton and Penn this weekend. Penn is at Princeton next Tuesday.
Temple-SJU was at 11 a.m. Villanova-Georgetown was at noon. Brown-Penn was at 7. The crowds were 7,342, 19,914 and 3,346, respectively, for a total of 30,602.
FINDING A WAY
La Salle looked like it might never win another game a month ago. Now, it is winning games that looked lost.
The Explorers (11-11, 3-4 A-10) trailed by six points at Charlotte with 70 seconds left in regulation. They won, 91-86, in double OT.
All five La Salle starters scored in double figures. More importantly, they held Charlotte (9-12, 1-6) to 24-for-70 (34.3 percent) shooting.
The teams combined to attempt 80 free throws. The good news for La Salle was that Charlotte was 8-for-16 from the foul line in the overtimes and missed potential game-winners at the end of regulation and the first OT.
BIG ROAD WIN FOR DREXEL
Hofstra has been playing very well for weeks. Charles Jenkins is one of the best players in America. Its gym was sold out for the first time in 4 years. The Dragons were playing their fourth game in 8 days and took forever to get home through the snow from Wednesday's game at James Madison.
Naturally, Drexel won, 65-60. The Dragons' bench outscored Hofstra's 35-7. Chris Fouch had 18 points. Dartaye Ruffin had 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Jenkins had 19 points, eight assists and five rebounds for Hofstra (14-8, 8-3 Colonial Athletic). He now has 2,280 points, most in school history.
Drexel's starting center, Daryl McCoy, did not score and has not scored in the last three games. The Dragons (14-7, 6-5) shot just 38.3 percent (23-for-60). So how did they win? They did what they do, burying Hofstra on the glass, 47-24, and toughing it out at the finish.
ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Over the last 3 weeks, Kansas' Thomas Robinson lost two grandparents and his mother. He returned to play against Kansas State. He had 17 points and nine rebounds.
HOW HAS THIS HAPPENED?
Syracuse won its first 18 games. It has now lost its last four. 'Cuse shot 57.1 percent at Marquette, but the defense was still lacking so it lost, 76-70.
ANATOMY OF A NEAR-UPSET
Ohio State shot 56.8 percent at Northwestern, but won by just a point. Why? Three-point math.
The Buckeyes made just two threes, the Wildcats made nine. That is 27-6 on the scoreboard and was almost enough.
DICK JERARDI'S TOP 15
1. Ohio State (22-0): Gave up a 13-point second-half lead before Jared Sullinger's free throw with 3.5 seconds won it at Northwestern, 58-57.
2. Kansas (20-1): Shot 61.8 percent and held Kansas State to 33.8 percent shooting in 90-66 win at Allen.
3. San Diego State (21-1): Went 17-for-33 from the arc, led by 31 at halftime and crushed Wyoming, 96-57, in first game after getting Jimmered at BYU on Wednesday.
4. Pittsburgh (20-2): Shot just 35.6 percent, but made 28 of 35 free throws in 65-62 win at Rutgers, now coached by former Jamie Dixon assistant Mike Rice.
5. Duke (19-2): St. John's jumped on Duke early yesterday at the Garden and never let up, winning 93-78. Red Storm shot 58.2 percent and the Blue Devils looked soft like they often did in the recent seasons before last year's title.
6. Texas (18-3): Nobody is defending much better these days than UT, which held Missouri to just 33.9 percent shooting in 71-58 win. All six league wins by double-digits.
7. BYU (20-2): Jimmer Fredette got his (32 points), but New Mexico is very good at the Pit and won, 86-77. A nice crowd of 15,411 showed up to see the Jimmer show.
8. Connecticut (17-3): Led almost the entire game, but lost in double overtime to Louisville, 79-78. Kemba Walker is just 24-for-74 over his last four games.
9. Notre Dame (17-4): Off over the weekend, but ND is very much in play for a top-4 NCAA seed heading into February.
10. Villanova (17-4): Lost at Wells Fargo to Georgetown, 69-66. It was a lost week, but everybody else was losing, too.
11. Purdue (18-4): JaJuan Johnson had 24 points in 73-61 win over Minnesota. Nice comeback from that beating at Ohio State last Tuesday.
12. Kentucky (16-4): Has now won 29 straight at Rupp after 66-60 victory over Georgia.
13. Xavier (15-5): Has won seven straight after 85-62 romp at Richmond. Tu Holloway had 33 points for X.
14. Utah State (20-2): Won 89-84 in double overtime at Hawaii. Only losses are to BYU and Georgetown.
15. Louisville (17-4): Not quite sure how they are doing it, but Cardinals are right in the middle of the Big East race.