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Rapid Reaction: Nova 79, St. John's 76 (OT)

1/21/2012


NEW YORK -- A quick take on St. John's 79-76 overtime loss to Villanova on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden:

WHAT IT MEANS: This is a crushing blow for the young Red Storm, who led for most of the second half, and blew a chance to win the game in regulation (see below). St. John's has now lost four in a row and six of seven, dropping to 8-11 overall and 2-6 in Big East play. Villanova improves to 10-10, 3-5 in the conference.

THE SKINNY: St. John's got off to a good start -- D'Angelo Harrison drained two treys in the first 50 seconds of the game, and the Red Storm led by as many as eight early, 12-4. But then the Johnnies went ice-cold, with just two field goals in the final 11:21 of the half. Villanova led 29-24 at the break.

St. John's came out hot again to start the second half, going on a 13-3 run ito take a 37-32 lead. The Red Storm led by as many as 10, 60-50, but Villanova came back to tie the game at 63 with 1:54 remaining. Tied at 67, St. John's had a chance to win it coming out of a timeout with 11.7 seconds left, but God'sgift Achiuwa threw the ball away, and then Villanova missed a couple attempts in the frantic final seconds.

St. John's took a one-point lead early in overtime on a Moe Harkless free throw, but then Villanova went on a 8-0 run, including back-to-back treys by James Bell and Dominic Cheek, to take a 75-68 lead. Harrison fouled out with 1:52 left, but St. John's didn't give up. Down 79-76, the Red Storm had a chance to tie it in the final seconds, but Sir'Dominic Pointer hit the front rim on his last-ditch 3-point attempt.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: After back-to-back poor games, Harrison came back to life in a big way, finishing with a career-high 28 points -- 21 of them coming in the second half and overtime.

Moe Harkless had 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, while Phil Greene had his second straight double-figure game, finishing with a career-high 14 points, five assists and four rebounds.

Maalik Wayns had 28 points to lead Villanova.

NUMBER CRUNCH: St. John's made just 14 of 25 from the free throw line, including three of eight in overtime, and it came back to haunt them in a big way. Four different St. John's players missed at least one freebie in the extra period.

WHAT'S NEXT: St. John's is back at the Garden on Wednesday night, hosting West Virginia (14-5, 4-2 Big East).