Philadelphia: We are at the point in conference play where you try to get yourself set for a good place in the conference tournaments, and possibly, an NCAA Tournament run, and that is what we had on Wednesday night as the Number One ranked Villanova Wildcats took on St John’s Red Storm from Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia. Villanova comes into the game with a 22-1 (9-1 in Big East) record and coming off a win over Seton Hall on February 4. St John’s entered the battle with Wildcats with an 11-13 (0-11 in Big East), and off an upset win over number four Duke on February 3. Villanova would not have Eric Paschall for this game as he was out with a concussion.
St John’s won the tip and would score right away on 3-pointer from Justin Simon. Villanova would get on the board with a basket from Omari Spellman. The Red Storm would bring the fight to the Wildcats and would make things very difficult for the Wildcats to understand what they were doing as they would have a six-point lead at 18-12 with 11:03 left. Villanova would take their first lead of the game on a basket by Mikal Bridges which made it 21-20 with 7:55 left. St John’s would keep the pressure on the Wildcats as they would take a 39-34 lead at halftime.
In the second half, St. John’s would keep the pressure on the Wildcats and every time the Wildcats would get close to taking the lead and the Red Storm would have an answer. St John’s would grow a nine-point lead at 63-54 with 5:38 left. Late in the game, with the Red Storm up 9 at 67-58, the Wildcats would chop the lead down to 1 at 67-66 with 1:25 left. Collin Gillespie would hit a huge three-pointer, which got the lead down to 1 at 74-73 with 23 seconds left. St John’s would make clutch foul shots and they would pull the upset as St. John’s takes down number 1 Villanova 79-75. A Crowd of 10,900 was in shock in how the Wildcats looked all night.
With the loss the Wildcats go to 22-2 (9-2 in Big East) and look to get back to their winning ways, as they take on Butler on February 10 at Wells Fargo Center and with the win, St. John’s goes to 12-13 (1-11 in Big East) and take on Marquette also on February 10.
Jalen Brunson: 28 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
Collin Gillespie: 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
Omari Spellman, Donte DiVincenzo & Mikal Bridges had 11 points
St John’s Red Storm:
Shamorie Ponds: 26 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists
Justin Simon: 16 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists
Marvin Clark II: 15 points, 6 rebounds
Villanova Coach Jay Wright:
St John’s Coach Chris Mullin: