St. John’s inability to force or convert on turnovers in the second half proved to be too much for the Johnnies’ balanced offense to overcome, as they fall to Villanova 71-60.
The Red Storm falls to 14-14, 3-12 in Big East play; Villanova improves to 22-6, 11-4 in the Big East.
It didn’t start well for the Red Storm. The Johnnies got behind early, and eventually got went down by as many as 13 points. Most of Villanova’s success early was thanks to Saddiq Bey. Bey finished the half with 14 points off of a breathtaking 5 of 6 from the field and 3 of 3 from beyond the arc.
But when the Wildcats got sloppy, the Johnnies were prepared to capitalize. St. John’s won the first half turnover ball by turning Villanova over 9 times while only coughing it up once. From those 9 turnovers, the Red Storm were able to produce 10 points.
Marcellus Earlington’s recent rise was on full display in the half. Earlington went into halftime with 8 points of his own off of 3 of 5 from the floor.
Thanks to the turnover attempting 13 more shots than Villanova, and a 10-1 run to close the half, St. John’s went into the half in striking distance, down only 36-34.
In the second half, St. John’s worked hard to keep it close, and in a lot of ways, they succeeded in keeping it close. But as the half went along, Villanova began to pull away like a wrapper on American cheese.
Rasheem Dunn was particularly good in keeping the Johnnies close, as he had 7 points off 2 of 5 from the floor to go along with 2 rebounds and 3 assists.
The problem for St. John’s after the break was their inability to force turnovers similar to how they did in the first half. Compared to Villanova’s 9 first half turnovers, the Wildcats only turned the ball over 4 times in the second half. Complicating matters further, the Johnnies did not convert any of those second half turnovers into points.
Additionally, Justin Moore denied St. John’s from finding a way to stay in the game until the very end. Moore had 12 second half points off of 5 of 8 from the field and 2 of 4 from deep as well as 4 rebounds.
On a partially positive note, the Red Storm had four players - Julian Champagnie, Dunn, Greg Williams, Jr., and Earlington - score in the double digits on a combined 17 of 41 from the floor. However, LJ Figueroa struggled to find his groove, finishing with only 4 points off of 2 of 10 from the field and 0 of 5 from deep.
As a result, the Wildcats slowly pulled away and St. John’s left Philadelphia with a loss, 71-60.
On Sunday, the Johnnies play a white-out game in their final game at Carnesecca Arena this season against Creighton at noon.
St. John’s Red Storm
Marcellus Earlington: 12 points (5/12 FG, 0/1 3PT), 5 rebounds
Rasheem Dunn: 12 points (4/10 FG, 0/1 3PT), 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 turnovers
Greg Williams, Jr.: 10 points (4/9 FG, 2/3 3PT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover
Saddiq Bey: 23 points (7/14 FG, 4/8 3PT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover
Justin Moore: 21 points (8/11 FG, 5/7 3PT), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers