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Villanova holds off St. John’s in 71-60 win

With win Wildcats keep up chase at the top of the conference while Red Storm slump to .500

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Villanova Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a win against Xavier in the Queen City, Villanova made the trip back home to play host with Kyle Lowry in attendance to St. John’s for some Wednesday night Big East action. Whereas the Wildcats were coming back victorious, the Red Storm were hoping to return back to winning ways following a poor showing against the Seton Hall Pirates and quite a showing it was against the Wildcats, as it was just not enough to keep the pace as Villanova downed St. John’s by a score of 71-60.

In all, it was a great game for the neutral eye as St. John’s defense made things tough for around 25-30 minutes over the 40 minute span of both halves, as the Wildcats minus the play of Saddiq Bey and Justin Moore could not find the space to operate let alone break the Johnnies down. It also allowed St. John’s to force the Wildcats into 13 turnovers, and more importantly, allowed the Johnnies to claw their way back into the game and keep pace with Villanova at the half and occasionally tying things up though in the grand scheme of things the game was tied for a grand total of 42 seconds. Sadly for St. John’s, the Red Storm just did not have enough product on the offensive side of the ball to do more than just take tie the game up or even keep pace with Villanova. If anything it would have had to come from forcing defensive errors or maybe even slowing the game down through turnovers and fouls for St. John’s to have an even greater chance.

Still though, most of Villanova had a tough time in the Finneran Pavilion. Bey led the way with a 23 point night on 7-of-14 shooting and 5-of-6 from the foul line. Early on he was the motor for the Wildcats, especially as other options could not get going. Justin Moore kept up with Bey’s production with a 21 point night on 8-of-11 shooting. He especially kicked things up in the second half with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Outside of their production, Jermaine Samuels led the game with 10 rebounds.

As a team, Villanova shot the ball at a rate of 43% from the field, 35% from beyond the arc, and 76% from the foul line. They out rebounded St. John’s 46 to 31 in total boards for the game.

On the St. John’s side of things, the Johnnies tonight got production from a wide array of options which has been common this season for the Red Storm to find ways through multiple players. The two leading scorers in the game for Mike Anderson’s side were Rasheem Dunn and Marcellus Earlington with 12 points on the game. Julian Champagnie and Greg Williams, Jr were the best secondary options with 10 points each on the game.

As a team, St. John’s shot the ball at a rate of 35% from the field, 17% from beyond the arc, and 80% from the foul line. As mentioned they were out rebounded by Villanova but also forced Villanova to commit more turnovers.

With this loss St. John’s move to 14-14 on the season, a mark of .500 potentially putting Mike Anderson’s winning season streak in peril. Villanova on the other hand move to 22-6 on the season and more importantly 11-4 the conference standings putting the Wildcats in a tie at second with Creighton and just a game behind leaders Seton Hall. With seeding and rankings in mind, there is still so much to play for as we enter into the final throws of the regular season. Both teams have just three games remaining on the regular season. Next up for St. John’s is a home game against Creighton, and for Villanova it is playing host to Providence.