Villanova Handed First Loss in the Big East

St. John’s Red Storm Wins 81 – 71 on Villanova Home Court

VILLANOVA, PA. 1/6/2024 –

The Villanova Wildcats no longer sit alone at the top of the Big East standings. They will share a 3 – 1 conference record with Connecticut, St. John’s, and possibly two other teams. The Red Storm came down a snowy route to the Main Line and handed the Wildcats a 81 – 71 defeat. It also snapped a Nova four-game winning streak, while the St. John’s are victorious in five of their last six games, and their first win at this building on the Main Line since 1993.

“St. John’s played their game to perfection,” said Villanova Coach Kyle Neptune. “They dictated the tempo of the game, dictated how the game was played, played to their strengths.”

Efficiency on Offense Favored the Visitors

St. John’s had a stronger inside game and appeared to be a big difference. The visitors moved the ball to isolate their inside players. Forward Joel Soriano led his team with 20 points making 7 of 10 shots. He added a team-high 8 rebounds. The team was ahead in points in the paint and second chance points by a 58 – 44 margin. An indication of inside ability.

Then the outside and driving lanes opened up for the Red Storm. Three point shooting can favor the Wildcats, but the New Yorkers were better. Villanova made 6 of 28 from distance where St. John’s went 7 of 16, and 3 of 6 in the second half. TJ Bamba and Eric Dixon had 2 triples for Nova.

St. John’s turned the ball over 12 times, two less than Villanova. But the Red Storm made the Wildcats pay for their mistakes by an 18 – 11 margin.

“Obviously it was a great road win for us,” said St. John’s Coach Rick Pitino. “Offensively, we were very efficient especially in the first eight minutes. We kept attacking the basket which was beautiful to see. And we played great defense.”

What the Numbers Say

TJ Bamba scored a game and season high 23 points hitting 8 of 14 field goal attempts. He was good on 2 of 6 three’s and drained 5 of 6 from the line while taking down 7 caroms. Dixon and Mark Armstrong added 14 points each. Armstrong tied his season-best for assists handing out 4.

Daniss Jenkins added 18 points for St. John’s and he assisted 4 times. Brady Dunlap scored 15 points going 5 of 8 form the floor and drained 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. R.J. Luis scored 11 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.

Former Penn star Jordan Dingle, now playing for St. John’s, scored 9 points going 3 for 7 from the floor and 1 of 3 from beyond the arc.

Key Run

St. John’s did not trail, but they could not fully shake Villanova. The Wildcats pulled to within 46 – 39 with just under thirteen and a half left to play. The Red Storm would respond with a 10 – 3 run capped by a basket by Luis to lead 56 – 42 just under halfway through. Jenkins and Dunlap hit a three-pointer in that stretch. Nova got no closer than 11 after that, except for 10 at the end.

Up Next

It is the beginning of the Big East part of the schedule. St. John’s hosts Providence in the middle of this week.

Villanova (10 – 5, 3 – 1) had DePaul coming in next weekend.

Lots to work on for Villanova.


Written By: Glenn Papazian


TJ Bamba With a Season-High 23 Points

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.