First half burst dooms St. John’s basketball against No. 14 Villanova

St. John's basketball guard Posh Alexander (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball guard Posh Alexander (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports) /

A first half burst from the Villanova Wildcats doomed the St. John’s basketball team. 

It looked like the St. John’s basketball team was going to carry things over from its victory over Seton Hall against Villanova on Saturday afternoon.

The Johnnies’ length and size caused fits for the Wildcats as the Red Storm opened up a 10-4 lead early in the first half but an avalanche was coming.

No. 14 Villanova (16-5, 9-2 Big East) then went on an extended 36-16 run to take a 40-26 lead at halftime and kept St. John’s (11-8, 3-5 Big East) at arms length for the duration of the second half, winning 73-62.

Jay Wright’s team used its stifling defense to shut down the Red Storm in its half-court offensive sets and continue to limit the struggling Julian Champagnie.

Champagnie was held under ten points for the third straight game with nine points on 4-of-12 shooting and missing all four of his 3-point attempts.

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The St. John’s junior forward is now 4-of-23 from 3-point range in his last four games and shooting 28.0-percent from the field over the same time frame.

Villanova made 12 of its final 13 shots in the first half as it rattled off a 16-0 run to seize control of the game.

The Wildcats were 9-of-12 shooting from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes while the Johnnies were just 2-of-12 from downtown in the half.

St. John’s made a late charge in the second half to get within nine, 66-57, with 2:10 left in the game, but the Villanova lead was never threatened.

Montez Mathis led the way with 14 points on the afternoon as no other player surpassed ten points for the Red Storm.

Collin Gillespie paced Villanova with 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

St. John’s basketball continues with foul line issues

St. John’s entered Saturday shooting 62.7-percent from the foul line and that number will not get any better.

The Red Storm were dreadful from the free throw line against Villanova, making just 8-of-17 attempts and never giving themselves a true chance to get back into the game.

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St. John’s was not much better from outside, either, after only sinking 4-of-21 shots from 3-point range.

Sophomore guard Posh Alexander fell hard on the floor with under three minutes to play and did not return to action and had a bag of ice on his knee while leaving the floor.

St. John’s returns to action on Tuesday, February 1 against No. 17 Providence (17-2, 7-1 Big East) in Carnesecca Arena (9:00 p.m., CBS Sports Network).

Next. The St. John’s meeting that might have turned its season. dark