Saturday, January 11, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Villanova 74, St. John's 67
By Kieran Darcy
NEW YORK -- Some quick thoughts on St. John's 74-67 loss to No. 8 Villanova on Saturday at Madison Square Garden:
What it means: St. John's squanders a golden opportunity to secure a signature win against a Top 10 team. This one was there for the taking -- Villanova did not bring its "A" game, but the Red Storm failed to capitalize, and are now 0-3 against ranked opponents.
The Red Storm have lost three in a row and are 9-6 overall -- 0-3 in the Big East for the first time in the Steve Lavin era. Villanova improves to 15-1 overall, and 4-0 in the conference.
The turning point: It was a see-saw first half, with six lead changes and eight ties. Both teams shot poorly, and neither team led by more than six. Jamal Branch's jumper in the closing seconds gave St. John's a 33-31 lead at the break.
The game remained very tight for most of the second half. With St. John's leading 56-55, Villanova went on an 8-0 spurt -- starting with a Kris Jenkins trey, and ending with a Darrun Hilliard II trey -- that gave Villanova the largest lead of the game at the time, 63-56 with five minutes remaining. The Wildcats closed it out from there. St. John's never got closer than four points the rest of the way.
Star watch:D'Angelo Harrison had a game-high 22 points for St. John's, but shot just 4-for-13 from the field. Freshman Rysheed Jordan chipped in 12, 10 of them coming in the second half.
JayVaughn Pinkston led Villanova with 15 points, one of five Wildcats in double figures. He also had 10 rebounds.
Number crunch: Both teams shot under 36 percent from the field. Villanova had a big advantage on free throws, despite playing on the road. The Wildcats were 31-for-40 from the foul line, while St. John's was 19-for-24.
What's next: St. John's has a busy week ahead. The Red Storm play at DePaul on Tuesday, host Providence on Thursday, and then wrap up their nonconference schedule by hosting Dartmouth next Saturday.
Villanova has a week off before hosting DePaul next Saturday.