The Student News Site of Villanova University

The Villanovan

The Villanovan

The Villanovan

St. John’s Storms Past Villanova 70–50 at MSG

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Senior forward Eric Dixon scored 16 points in Villanova’s loss to St. John’s on Wednesday night.

Villanova (11–8 overall, 4–4 Big East) succumbed to Big East rival St. John’s (13–7 overall, 5–4 Big East) on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, 70–50.

The Red Storm claimed the series sweep, previously defeating the Wildcats 81–71 on Jan. 6.

Senior forward Eric Dixon powered Villanova’s offense. He led the ‘Cats with 16 points and eight rebounds. Senior guard TJ Bamba also recorded 12 points and an assist.

Villanova missed junior forward Nnanna Njoku, who was sidelined with a right knee injury.

Bamba scored on Villanova’s opening two possessions. The 4–3 advantage less than two minutes into the game was the only time the Wildcats would lead for the remainder of the contest.

The Wildcats battled with the Red Storm after the early lead. A layup from graduate forward Tyler Burton and two successful Dixon free-throws cut the St. John’s advantage to 13–11 just under eight minutes into the game.

But a reinvigorated St. John’s lineup under new head coach and Hall of Famer Rick Pitino stifled the ‘Cats in the first half.

The Red Storm surged ahead after the media timeout, going on an 8–0 run to build a ten-point lead in the next minute and 16 seconds of play. Three minutes later, the deficit increased to 15.

The Wildcats eventually sparked some offense, going on a 7–0 run with under six minutes until halftime.

Despite containing the Red Storm for three minutes, the ‘Cats were still behind 28–20.

St. John’s full-court press limited the efficiency of the Villanova offense. The ‘Cats shot just 8–22 from the field and 2–13 from three in the first half. They also fell behind in rebounds, with the Red Storm recording a 19–11 rebounding advantage in the first half.

The Wildcats went into the locker room down by ten. Villanova’s 22 points made it the lowest-scoring first half all season.

The Red Storm’s offensive intensity was unfaltering. The ‘Cats permitted an alley oop in the first five minutes of the second half that increased the score to 36–28.

The Wildcats soon closed the scoring gap to 40–35 with a layup from graduate guard Hakim Hart assisted by sophomore guard Brendan Hausen.

Villanova came within five points of St. John’s for a second time near the ten-minute mark when sophomore guard Mark Armstrong assisted a Dixon layup.

The Wildcats stumbled in the last ten minutes of play. The St. John’s advantage expanded from ten to 15, then to 20 as the final two minutes arrived.

St. John’s leader, graduate center Joel Soriano, scored 15 points off the ‘Cats in the second half on 5–5 shooting.

Coupled with St. John’s uptempo offense spearheaded by Soriano, inconsistent shooting from the long range impaired Villanova’s efforts to come back. The ‘Cats shot just 4–25 from three throughout the game.

A layup from senior forward Lance Ware marked 50 points for the Wildcats in the last thirty seconds. Villanova recorded its lowest-scoring game in Kyle Neptune’s career as head coach.

The Wildcats will travel to Indianapolis, Ind. for their next Big East matchup against Butler on Saturday, Jan. 27. It will be the first time the ‘Cats face the Bulldogs this season as they seek to regain a winning conference record. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Villanovan
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of The Villanovan with technological needs, training, etc!

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis, Co-Sports Editor
Katie Lewis is a sophomore from Miami, FL in her first year as Co-Sports Editor in 2024. From covering games to writing features and profiles, she loves to find the story behind Villanova sports. Pursuing her enthusiasm for writing and journalism in her studies at Villanova, Katie is double-majoring in English and Communication with concentrations in Journalism and Writing & Rhetoric. When Katie isn’t at Holy Grounds working on her next article, she enjoys playing tennis with Villanova’s club team.
Donate to The Villanovan
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Villanovan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *