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Quick Report: Villanova 92, St. John's 79

02/04/2017, 10:15pm EST
By Josh Verlin & Will Slover

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin) &
Will Slover (@WillSlover31)

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Villanova jumped out to a big early lead on St. John’s, then watched the Johnnies get all the way back within single-digits before the Wildcats held on for a 92-79 victory at the Wells Fargo Center.

At First…
A slow start from St. John’s allowed Villanova to jump out to an early 14-2 lead with 11:48 to go in the half. Mikal Bridges started things off for Villanova by knocking down two 3-pointers in the first four minutes to get the Wildcats off and running in the early going.

Turning Point…
With 11:02 to go in the first half, Donte DiVincenzo used a shifty behind-the-back move to get to the rack for a layup that gave Villanova a 16-2 lead. This bucket was the first of 10 straight points the redshirt freshman would score for the Wildcats over the course of 1:36 that would give Villanova a commanding 24-5 lead with 9:24 to go in the first half. The 6-foot-4 guard capped off the stretch with an and-one layup that brought the Villanova faithful to their feet.

St. John’s had one run in its reservoir, making a strong push sandwiched around the half. Though Villanova’s lead got as big as 26, SJU cut it all the way down to nine, 51-42, with 15:46 to play before a 15-4 Villanova run over the following 4:06 pushed the lead back out to 20 and secured the win for the Wildcats.

Standout Stars…
DiVincenzo scored a career-high 20 points, surpassing his previous career high on a mid-range jumper with just under four minutes to play. The 6-foot-4 Salesianum (Del.) grad was 7-for-11 from the floor while also grabbing seven rebounds, tying a career high he set in the season opener. Hart led Villanova in scoring with 26 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out five assists. The two also combined for 11 turnovers.

Redshirt freshman guard Marcus LoVett provided a spark off the bench for St. John’s as the 6-foot guard -- usually a starter for the Johnnies -- cashed in for 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting while also dishing out a team-high six assists in the defeat.

Noteworthy Numbers…
12: St. John’s couldn’t buy a bucket over the game’s first seven minutes and 30 seconds, coming up empty on its first 14 possessions of the game before LoVett finally got the Johnnies on board with a layup. SJU missed its first 12 shots from the floor and turned it over three times during that span.

23: Villanova committed nearly two dozen turnovers in their win on Saturday, surpassing the previous season-high of 19, which occurred back on January 14 when the Wildcats defeated St. John’s for the first time by a score of 70-57 at Madison Square Garden.

14: Villanova beat St. John's for the 14th consecutive meeting between the teams, dating back to a Johnnies win on Feb. 26, 2011. St. John's still holds the all-time series lead, however, 59-55.

Up Next…
No. 4 Villanova (22-2, 9-2 Big East) vs. Georgetown (13-11, 4-7 Big East) -- Tues., Feb. 7, 7:00 PM
St. John’s (11-14, 5-6 Big East) vs. Seton Hall (14-8, 4-6 Big East) -- Sat., Feb. 11, 12:00 PM

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