After the blowout at Carnesecca, St. John’s had hoped for a big game — and a surprising season sweep over the league-leading Villanova. But Villanova turned the tables on St. John’s with a 81-58 bounceback.
The Red Storm fall to 14-10, 8-9 in the Big East. Villanova improves to 15-3, 10-2 in the league.
St. John’s scored a season-low 58 points on the evening.
Villanova took a focused, professional approach to this game, wiping any doubt about the outcome by the middle of the first half.
First, Collin Gillespie got his shots in calmly, was unbothered by Posh Alexander’s pressure, and kept the ball moving for Villanova. The Wildcats got the ball into the paint and out of the paint.
Meanwhile, St. John’s was well-defended, but also seemed to miss shots they would normally make (except for Rasheem Dunn’s long jumpers, just inside the three-point line). The Red Storm struggled to connect on offense, committing more turnovers than usual.
And so, the runs came. A 7-0 run by the Wildcats. Another 7-0 run. An 8-0 run off of a pair of turnovers and a bad shot, with all the points coming in the paint — including two Brandon Slater dunks.
By that point, Villanova led 28-12 with nearly 10 minutes left in the half, a cushion the Wildcats would not look back from.
Julian Champagnie did not score his first points until four minutes were left in the first half. Villanova worked the ball in and out of the paint, drawing fouls for their lead which expanded to as much as 20 in the half.
It wasn’t that the Red Storm defense was terrible. They forced some turnovers, kept the Wildcats from scoring from the field for stretches. But the offense was a struggle. Threes were not falling (15%), and the team could not score at all inside, with six points in the paint.
Seven straight points by forward Jermaine Samuels pushed the lead to 22 to start the second half, putting thoughts of a wild second half comeback out of the hopes and dreams of the fans.
Caleb Daniels led Villanova with 17, while Gillespie added 14. Jermaine Samuels added 14 and nine rebounds.
St. John’s got 16 from Julian Champagnie, and 10 from Isaih Moore. Posh ALexander left the game early with a wrist injury after banging Villanova’s Cole Swider on a reach in; updates after the game.
Next on the schedule — next Wednesday — is a rematch against Providence at home.