PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/22/2014 – The Villanova Wildcats and the Red storm of St. John’s met for the 109th time. This one was an old-time Big East style game. It was a tough, physical, and defense dominated game. With 3:44 to play Villanova sophomore guard Ryan Arcidiacono broke a tie at 50 when he banked in a three-point shot. The Wildcats held on to the lead and earned a 57 – 54 win over the Red Storm at the Wells Fargo Center.
This game was not offensively artistic. 9th ranked Villanova won it with their defense and rebounding, the hard work statistics. They held St. John’s to 32.2% shooting (19 – 59), and had a 41 – 33 edge on the boards.
“There was only one way we were going to win that game, defend and rebound,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “We weren’t going to out-score them.”
The Cats hung on as the Arcidiacono three-pointer was their last basket of the game. The Red Storm stubbornly stayed in the game until they committed two turnovers in the last 14 seconds of play gave the Wildcats control.
“I could have gotten a better shot with five seconds on the shot clock,” said Arcidiacono about his three. “I have to shoot with confidence. That’s what I did, and it just went in for me.”
Junior guard Darrun Hilliard scored a game-high 18 points making 6 of 8 from the floor and 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. Arcidiacono scored 12 as the only other double-figures scorer for the Blue and White. Sophomore forward Daniel Ocheu grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, one shy of his career high, while scoring 5 points. Hilliard credited the win to the team’s performance on the defensive end of the floor.
“This is what we do, we prepare for this every day in practice,” said Hilliard. “We don’t prepare for coming out one night and making every shot we put up, we prepare for the most difficult situations. That’s the type of game we get up for, not making shots. St. John’s is a great team and we just kept getting stops down the stretch. That’s the type of game we want.”
D’Angelo Harrison came into the game averaging 17.9 points per game leading the Red Storm, and was fifth in conference scoring. He was held to 4 of 15 shooting, just 1 of 4 from three-point land. Harrison was a perfect 6 for 6 from the free throw line in scoring his team-high 15 points. Philadelphia native Rysheed Jordan added 13 points in the contest.
St. John’s was in proximity due to forcing 15 Villanova turnovers for a 20 – 10 advantage in points off turnovers. It was not enough as the Red Storm six game winning streak came to an end. St. John’s falls to 18 – 10, 8 – 7 in conference. Coach Steve Lavin knew his team had a chance to win at the end.
“It was a Big East battle right to the end,” said Lavin. “I am proud of our team’s ability in a hostile environment to keep punching and counter-punching for forty minutes. I’m disappointed that we were not able to come out with the win.”
Villanova survives to go 24 – 3 overall. The Wildcats are 12 – 2 in Big East play and are presently in a tie with Creighton for the top spot in the league.
Written By: Glenn Papazian