Villanova’s high-powered shooting proved too much for St. John’s with the Johnnies losing, 79-59.
The Johnnies starting five opened strong, helping the Red Storm lead for a large majority of the first 10 minutes of the half. However, St. John’s struggled when its bench began trickling into the game. The five non-starters who came into the game played a combined 28 minutes, scored 2 points on 1 of 5 from the field, and collectively had a +/- of -37 for the half.
A major concern for all of the Red Storm was finishing at the basket. The Red Storm were 7 of 15 at the rim in the half.
Part of what haunted the Red Storm in the first half was Villanova’s Saddiq Bey. Bey added 13 first half points for the Wildcats on a breezy 5 of 9 from the field and 3 of 6 from deep.
While Coach Anderson played 10 guys in the half to Villanova’s 7, the Red Storm would need to stay within striking distance to capitalize on the fatigue partially through the second half, but the Red Storm’ being down 39-26 at the half may have been too much for the Johnnies benefit from its depth.
The Johnnies needed to both close the gap on the scoreboard and for Villanova to run out of gas for the Red Storm to keep it close. Unfortunately for St. John’s, neither of those occurred.
Villanova, and particularly Collin Gillespie, not only maintained their scoring margin, but increased it. Gillespie basically cloned the production of Bey in the first half, and finished with an 13 point second half off 5 of 8 from the floor and 3 of 4 from deep.
Unfortunately for St. John’s, it was not just Gillespie, as the rest of the Wildcats were 10 of 19 from the floor after the break, with half of their 12 three-point attempts touching the bottom of the net.
Part of what made Villanova so successful was their ability to convert second chance opportunities. The Wildcats had 16 second chance points off of 10 offensive rebounds, as compared to St. John’s 4 second chance points on 7 offensive rebounds. With Josh Roberts playing only 15 minutes in this one, albeit up from the 7 minutes he played against DePaul on Saturday, rebounding will likely continue to be an issue for the Johnnies.
The issue for the Red Storm was not the offensive end in the second half, at least not Rasheem Dunn’s offense. Dunn finished the half with 16 points off 7 of 10 from the field. However, the rest of the Johnnies were 7 of 21 from the field and 1 of 4 from deep.
Consequently, the Red Storm were not able to close the gap in the second half, as Villanova’s shooting proved to be too much with the Johnnies walking away with a loss, 79-59.
St. John’s stays at Madison Square Garden to play in the Super Bowl against the Georgetown Hoyas on Sunday at 1:00 (and the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs play in the late Super Bowl at 6:30).
St. John’s Red Storm
Rasheem Dunn: 24 points (10/16 FG, 3/5 3PT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover
LJ Figueroa: 12 points (5/14 FG, 2/8 3PT), 5 rebounds, 2 turnovers
Saddiq Bey: 23 points (8/14 FG, 5/9 3PT), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers
Collin Gillespie: 17 points (7/14 FG, 3/6 3PT), 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 turnover