Villanova coach Steve Lappas said his two freshmen were the difference in the sixth-ranked Wildcats’ 79-66 victory Monday night in Philadelphia over No. 8 Georgetown and its super sophomore, Allen Iverson.
He was referring to John Celestand, who finished with 19 points, and Howard Brown, who held the explosive Iverson to five points in the second half.
“These freshmen - both of them - just did an outstanding job tonight. It makes me feel good about our team now, obviously, and for our team down the road,” Lappas said.
Celestand, whose previous best was 14 points, has been a spark off the bench all season. Brown started for injured forward Eric Eberz, the Wildcats’ No. 2 scorer.
“We just wanted to play mistake-free ball, take open baskets and play poised. I think we did that,” Celestand said.
Villanova (19-3, 10-2 Big East) won its sixth consecutive game while Georgetown (19-4, 9-3) had a two-game winning streak ended.
“John just stepped up and did what he had to do,” Lappas said. “And Howard, if you get him fired up enough, you could probably get him to eat that television set over in the corner there.”
The Hoyas were led by Iverson’s game-high 22 points.
Gonzaga University forward Paul Rogers has been named the West Coast Conference men’s player of the month for January.
The junior from Adelaide, Australia, averaged 16.0 points and 8.9 rebounds for the month. He shot 56 for 91 from the field for 61.5 percent, and in one stretch was 24 for 29 for 82.2 percent. He posted five straight double-doubles to open WCC play.
Gonzaga went 7-2 for the month, including 4-2 in the WCC play to earn a tie for the top spot.
Pirates No. 6
The Whitworth College men’s team (15-4) climbed two spots to No. 6 in this week’s NAIA Division II poll.
Bethel, Ind., (24-1) retained its hold on the No. 1 ranking and was followed by Albertson, Idaho, (21-2) and Walsh, Ohio (21-3).