On Sunday the Johnnies dropped another Big East Conference game at the hands of Villanova. The losing streak now stands at 12 and with a brutal upcoming schedule it seems a win is deep in the distant future. The best opportunity St. John's will get is a home tilt on February 17th against the Depaul Blue Demons.
Both Villanova and St. John's started the game slowly turning the ball over and missing open shots. Villanova not playing its best basketball with the absence of star big man Daniel Ochefu left the door open for St. John's to steal a big one at home.
Eventually, Villanova would pull away from St. John's behind a dominant second half. The 24-10 Villanova run in the first 10 minutes of the second-half helped the Wildcats expand their slim 1 point lead, to a much more comfortable 15 point lead. From that point on Villanova would stiff-arm any St. John's momentum and hold-off the depleted Johnnies team.
Villanova struggled to get comfortable in their offense, especially early on. The Johnnies defense was superb all afternoon forcing Villanova to shoot a lousy 36% from the field and turn the ball over 20 times. Fortunately for the Wildcats, St. John's was constantly bailing them out and giving them easy free-throw opportunities.
Villanova shot 25 free-throws converting on 19 of them; St. John's only attempted 12 free-throws converting 7. Coach Mullin after the game said, their ability to draw fouls and get to the line was a major problem for the Johnnies all afternoon.
Arguably the most glaring takeaway from this contest was St. John's inability to rebound.
Throughout the game Villanova was minimizing the amount of second chance opportunities for St. John's, and maximizing the amount of shots they would take toward possession. Villanova finished the game with 48 total rebounds and 13 offensive rebounds. St. John's, on the other hand, finished with 35 total rebounds and 7 offensive rebounds.
This was a glaring issue as it seemed that Villanova was struggling to find their shooting stroke, but second-chance points allowed them to convert easier shots around the basket.
The most upsetting part about the rebounding struggles was the fact that Villanova's premiere rebounder and big man Daniel Ochefu was out with an injury for this contest.
Inability to finish
Throughout this season St. John's has struggled to play complete games. For example, St. John's has played some difficult opponents close all season long such as South Carolina, Indiana, and Xavier but have yet to find that finishing trait all good teams have.
On Sunday, Villanova gave St. John's a chance to grab a great win as they committed 20 turnovers and shot the ball poorly all game long. Only down 1 at the half, St. John's had Villanova on the ropes but they came out sloppy in the second-half and the Wildcats took advantage causing turnovers and drawing fouls. St. John's must find a way to play a complete game and turn their strong starts into pleasing results, something that has been an issue all season long.
We will see if St. John's can improve in these areas as they travel to play #7 Xavier on Wednesday night. If they do not improve in these areas that are such crucial nuances in a basketball game, they could be embarrassed on Wednesday.
What did you takeaway from this game? Comment below!