Wildcats cruise to 92-79 victory over St. John’s



Matt Fowler

The Villanova Men’s Basketball team cruised to a 92-79 victory over St. John’s on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, improving their record to 22-2.

Senior captain and National Player of the Year candidate Josh Hart led the team with 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists as the Cats dominated every facet of the game.

The final score does not accurately portray the dominance of Villanova, as a late run by St. John’s while Villanova’s bench roamed the floor helped close the gap.

Redshirt freshman Donte Divincenzo led Villanova through a dominant first half, scoring 15 of his 20 points. At one point, Divincenzo scored 10 straight for the team, extending their lead to 24-7.

“We got stops on defense,” Divincenzo explained. “I ran out, got on the break a lot quicker and just was fortunate enough to make easy layups.”

Defense was the key to early success as the ‘Cats forced St. John’s to start off 0-12 from the field. St. John’s leading scorer, Shamorie Ponds, was a non-factor in the first half. Ponds did not score a single point and spent a majority of the half on the bench due to three quick personal fouls. Ponds finished the game with 16 points, most of which came while Villanova rested its key players in the second half.

One area in which Villanova struggled was turnovers. The team committed a season-high 23 turnovers, which was three more than their previous season high (20) against this same St. John’s team. Head Coach Jay Wright credited the turnovers to St. John’s effort.

“They just play harder than us,” Wright admitted. “They speed us up and they take us out of [our playing style].”

Luckily, the team was able to make shots when they needed them. Sophomore Mikal Bridges contributed 14 points, five rebounds, four blocks and three steals. Senior captain Kris Jenkins, who came off the bench, found his shot as he scored 15 points and corralled five rebounds.

The lone bright spot for the Red Storm was freshman guard Marcus Lovett who scored 23 points and dished out six assists. St. John’s hosts Seton Hall next Saturday.

Going forward, Villanova plays host to Georgetown on Tuesday at the Pavilion. The No. 2 team in the nation will look to grab a strong hold of the conference with only seven games remaining before the Big East Tournament. If the team can score like they did on Saturday, there should be no problem earning a fourth straight Big East Regular Season Championship.