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Rapid Reaction: Villanova 57, St. John's 54

2/22/2014

PHILADELPHIA -- Some quick thoughts on St. John's 57-54 loss to Villanova on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center:

What it means: St. John's still has work to do in order to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Red Storm failed in their final opportunity of the regular season to really impress the selection committee. St. John's had won six in a row and nine of 10, but is now just 1-5 against ranked opponents.

No. 9 Villanova improves to 24-3 overall, and 12-2 in the Big East. St. John's falls to 18-10, and 8-7 in the conference.

The turning point: Villanova jumped out to an 8-0 lead, after the second of two treys by Darrun Hilliard II. But St. John's scored nine straight after that, capped off by the first bucket by Rysheed Jordan. Neither team led by more than five the rest of the half. The Wildcats had a one-point advantage, 28-27, at intermission.

The score was tied 50 apiece with five minutes remaining. Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono broke the tie with a 3-point dagger with 3:44 remaining and the shot clock winding down. St. John's had the ball with under 30 seconds to play, down 55-53, but Phil Greene IV was whistled for traveling with 14.1 seconds left. Arcidiacono was fouled, but made only one of two free throws.

With 3.2 seconds left and inbounding under its own basket following a timeout, Marc-Antoine Bourgault threw the ball to D'Angelo Harrison in the lane -- Harrison was fouled attempting a layup. Harrison made his first free throw, then missed the second on purpose, but the referees called a lane violation on St. John's. Villanova's Josh Hart was fouled with 1.5 seconds left, made one of two free throws, and then Jordan's half-court heave at the buzzer was off the mark and waved off anyway.

Star watch: Harrison finished with a team-high 15 points for St. John's, but shot 4-for-15 from the field. Jordan, in his homecoming, scored 13 points, and Jakarr Sampson had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Hilliard had a game-high 18 points for Villanova, shooting 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.

Number crunch: St. John's shot just 32.2 percent from the field (19-for-59) -- not good enough to beat an opponent of this quality. Villanova wasn't much better, 39.2 percent (20-for-51), but made 9 of 22 3-pointers (40.9 percent).

What's next: St. John's hosts Xavier on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. Villanova hosts Butler on Wednesday.