Big East brawl pits Wildcats against Hoyas

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Washington, D.C. ( - Long-time Big East Conference foes add another chapter to their storied rivalry, as the Villanova Wildcats do battle with the Georgetown Hoyas at Verizon Center on Monday night.

Villanova enters the fray with a stellar 17-1 record, which includes a 4-1 league ledger. The Wildcats' lone blemish came at Seton Hall 16 days ago, and since then the squad has reeled off four consecutive victories, the most recent of which occurred on Saturday at Big Five rival Penn, 62-47. Villanova is 3-1 in true road games this season, and is 6-1 away from home when you factor in its 3-0 mark in neutral-site affairs.

Georgetown hasn't had the impressive start its counterpart has, but the team has a few solid wins on its resume', notably against Florida and Indiana out of conference, and Creighton, Marquette, DePaul and Butler in Big East play. As a result, the Hoyas sit at 12-5 overall, 4-2 in conference, and they are seeking their 10th win in 11 home games this season.

Villanova swept the season series between the two squads in 2013-14, but Georgetown leads the all-time series, 42-31. The teams will square off again in Philadelphia on Feb. 7.

Villanova won its 11th straight Big Five game on Saturday at Penn, as the fifth-ranked team in the land awoke from its first-half slumber to thwart the upset bid of the pesky Quakers. Daniel Ochefu logged a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, who shot 56 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes, making up for a dismal 30 percent effort to open the game. Dylan Ennis chipped in 10 points and was credited with five of the team's 20 assists. Penn was held to 41.3 percent field goal efficiency, and the home team went just 3-of-13 from 3-point range while committing 17 turnovers. Villanova was guilty of only six miscues.

Despite the singular effort of Ochefu in Saturday's win, Villanova typically relies on a balanced attack to keep the opposition at bay, as evidenced by the fact that five players are averaging double figures in the scoring column, led by Darrun Hilliard at 13.0 ppg. The other four net between 10.0 and 10.7 ppg, helping the Wildcats put up 76.9 ppg behind typical shooting outputs of .473 overall and .360 from beyond the arc. The team's defensive effort yields only 60.6 ppg, with foes shooting 40.8 percent from the floor, which includes a 29.5 percent showing from out on the perimeter. VU continues to own favorable margins in both rebounding (+3.4) and turnovers (+4.6).

It was a tale of two halves in Georgetown's most recent outing as well, as the Hoyas went from a 30.8 percent shooting effort in the first half to 48.1 percent after intermission in slipping past Butler at home, 61-59. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera hit for 14 points, while Jabril Trawick, Joshua Smith and Isaac Copeland pitched in with 10 points apiece for the winning side. Trawick had six of the team's 14 assists, and Mikael Hopkins grabbed eight rebounds to go with eight points in 24 minutes of action.

Smith-Rivera and Smith are the only two double-digit scorers for Georgetown at the moment, netting 14.9 and 12.5 ppg, respectively, although L.J. Peak is close to joining them as he turns in 9.5 ppg. As a collective unit, the Hoyas are generating 71.5 ppg in hitting 46.5 percent of their total shots, while at the same time permitting 64.9 ppg with foes shooting just 39.6 percent from the floor. Georgetown is +3.7 in rebounding differential, and with Hopkins leading the way with 35 blocks, averages nearly six blocked shots per contest.