Madison Square Garden-Villanova has won six straight and 12 of its last 13 entering this game with the Red Storm. Over their first 10 games of the season, the Wildcats has giving up an average 69.3 points per game.
For the Johnnies, it is the fourth game this season against a ranked opponent. St. Johns beat No.16 Arizona in a neutral site game on Dec. 21 at Chase in San Francisco before dropping its last two to No.11 Butler and No.18 Seton Hall at the Garden.
This is Wildcats and the Johnnies 121st game that dates back to 1909. St. Johns has won two of the last three against Villanova, including a 71-65 victory at the ” World Famous Arena”.
Villanova took advantage of St. Johns’ inability to guard Saddiq Bey who lead the Wildcats with 23 points that helped beat the Johnnies 79-59 in front of 10,155 at the Garden.
In the first Villanova pushed the tempo and forced the Johnnies in turning the ball over and taking quick shots.
The Wildcats shot 41.2% (14-34) from the floor and 35.3% (6-17) from downtown to build 39-26 lead going into the break. Saddiq Bey set the tone in the first-half scoring 13 points.
In the second half, it was pretty much the same turnovers and miss opens looks. Late in the game St. John’s fans who remained left when the Wildcats’ lead blew up to 24 points, 68-44, on Saddiq Bey’s three-pointer with about seven minutes left in the game.
Rasheem Dunn, who finished the game with 24 points on 10-for-16 shooting; much of the evening St. John’s had to depend on him driving to the hole to create something as it shot just 41% for the game and committed 13 turnovers. LJ Figueroa chipped in 12 points but on 5-for-14 shooting.
Villanova’s Bey finished with 23 points, including five treys from deep, and Collin Gillespie added 17 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 13 points and 14 rebounds for Villanova.
The Wildcats outrebounded the Red Storm 40-31 which helped them with second-chance shots.
“We are young but now we starting to play a lot better in these last couple of games. I’m glad of the maturity of these guys and tonight was the best brand of basketball I have seen in a while against a very good team.” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said.