The Wildcats Keeps the Red Storm Offense Under Their Average in 73 – 62 Win
VILLANOVA, PA. 1/29/2022 –
The most frequently played opponent for the St. John’s Red Storm is the Villanova Wildcats. This game was the 125th time they have met. Historically this is a tough game for both teams. This contest was no different. The #14 Wildcats kept the Red Storm to nearly twenty points below their average in a 73 – 62 win at the Finnern Pavilion. Keeping St. John’s from running away was key to the win.
“You look 11 assists and 11 turnovers and that’s really not that good against most teams,” Villanova Coach Jay Wright said. “But against them, taking care of the ball prevents them getting out. Any time we turned it over, they were out and gone. They’re great at it. For us taking care of the ball was really important.”
The Villanova defense held the Red Storm leading scorers Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander to a combined 16 points total.
On defense the Red Storm deployed man pressure on Collin Gillespie in the first half. He did get loose for 8 points in that span. However, this gave room for Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels to operate. In the first half they combined for 16 points making 4 of 6 from beyond the arc and freshman Jordan Longino sank both of his three-pointers as Villanova took a 40 – 26 halftime lead. Backcourt players Daniels, Moore, and Gillespie keyed a 23 – 5 run over the last eight and a half minutes of the first half to provide separation. Nova made six from distance in that run including seven three-pointers; two by Daniels, two by Moore, and one each from Gillespie and Longino.
“A lot of other guys did a good job of turning passes and handling the ball when they were denying,” Gillespie said.
The lead grew to as many as twenty before St. John’s made a charge cutting the deficit to single digits late in the game.
Gillespie scored a game-high 17 points, while Daniels and Eric Dixon each added 15 points. The Wildcats made 11 of 23 (47.8%) from three-point land. In the first half the Cats sank 9 of 12 from distance. Dixon and Brandon Slater each pulled down a game-high tying 7 rebounds.
Montez Mathis led the Red Storm with 14 points, their only double-figures scorer. Champagnie scored 9 points and pulled down 7 rebounds.
Nova (16 – 5, 9 – 2) has won 9 of their last 10 games. They go to Marquette on Wednesday. The Golden Eagles defeated the Wildcats at the Pavilion ten days ago.
Written By: Glenn Papazian