February 3, 2021 –
The #3 Villanova Wildcats had their nine-game winning streak snapped, and were downed for the initial time this season losing 70 – 59 to the Red Storm of St. John’s. In a series of firsts on the night, it was road loss number one for the Wildcats.
St. John’s got the win by outplaying Villanova using speed and physicality as the main ingredient.
“One of those tough nights on the road in the Big East,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “They just played better than us on both ends of the floor. Our turnovers and poor shooting was a credit to their defense and their physicality. I give them all the credit.”
The Red Storm defense forced a season-high 17 turnovers by the Wildcats, 8 by steals. The pressure took away the effectiveness of Nova point guard Collin Gillespie who scored 4 points and turned the ball over a season-high 6 times. St. John’s came away with a 19 – 9 advantage in points off turnovers using a combination of speed and physicality.
“They’re a really quick team,” said Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl who recorded his second double-double with 14 points and a career-best 17 rebounds. “They’re really physical. They’re a tough team that likes to get after it. We know what we can work on.”
In addition Nova shot 20 for 62 from the floor (32.3%) and made 8 of 30 from distance, 3 of 12 in the second half. Caleb Daniels led Nova with a team-high 16 points. He was 4 of 10 in field goal attempts and 3 of 7 from beyond the arc.
Villanova trailed 30 – 27 at halftime and were in proximity. The game turned in St. John’s direction during the first six minutes of the second half going out to a 45 – 31 lead keeping the Cats at bay.
“We weren’t able to execute,” Wright said about the run. “They were so physical in bumping us off our cuts and staying with us on our drives. We weren’t able to execute what we wanted to do.”
Julian Champagnie led the Red Storm with a career-high 13 rebounds and added 14 points. Posh Alexander was the team leading scorer getting 16 points while recording 3 steals. Vince Cole also broke double-digits with 12 points.
St. John’s (12 – 7, 6 – 6) has been known as a giant-killer as they have 12 wins all-time against top-three teams. Villanova is a previous victim.
Nova (11 – 2, 6 – 1) hosts Georgetown on Sunday. The schedule called for Xavier to come to the Pavilion, but they are in a pause. The Hoyas were named as the next opponent for the Wildcats.
Written By: Glenn Papazian