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'Nova Gets By St. John's

On Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center, Villanova got past St. John's 92-79 with a bit of an erratic effort ...

#4 AP, Villanova won an odd game, 92-79, over St. John’s Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.    The Cats out-scored the Red Storm over roughly seventy-five percent of the game by a score of 81-41 - grabbing leads of more than twenty points in both the first and second halves.  The other 9:41 of game time (the last three minutes of the first-half, opening of the second-half and the closing minutes) featured two St. John’s runs that totaled 38-11.

The game was eerily similar in many ways to the game these same two teams played at MSG a couple weeks back.  Villanova had 23 turnovers but counteracted that +14 advantages in both rebounds and free-throws

Goods:

  • 25-27 (92.6%) free-throw shooting
  • 40-26 rebounding edge
  • 8 blocked shots
  • Scoring balance - five Wildcats with 12 or more points scored
  • 36 bench points
  • 1.15 points per possession

Others:

  • 23 turnovers
  • Allowed 10-26 (38.5%) three-point shooting by the Johnnies

Players:

Josh Hart (35 Min, 26 Points, 8-16 FG, 2-6 3PFG, 8-9 FTs, 9 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 6 Turnovers, 1 Steal, 1 Block, 116 ORtg)  Hart needed another “Game MVP” type performance to keep his post as leading candidate for national POY … and he earned one tonight.  He got off to a slow start shooting the rock but heated up late.  Hart was strong on the boards, made a handful of great hustle plays, and did some distributing as well.  The six turnovers included a couple of forced passes - but overall, this was a great effort and a stuffed stat sheet.  Hart eclipsed the 1,700 career points milestone (13th Cat to do so).

Kris Jenkins (24 Min, 15 Points, 4-10 FG, 2-6 3PFG, 5-5 FT, 5 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 0 Steals, 0 Blocks, 1 Turnovers, 141 ORtg)  Jenkins did not start the game - Paschall took his place.  Coach Wright explained that he wanted to take some pressure off Jenkins and mix things up to try to get him back on track.  The Senior responded with a quality floor game and more aggressiveness getting to the rim.

Darryl Reynolds (19 Min, 2 Points, 2 Rebounds, 1-1 FG, 0-0 FT, 0 Assist, 1 Turnover, 0 Steals, 0 Blocks, 79 ORtg) Reynolds had some first-half foul trouble and struggled to really get into the flow of the game much on either end of the court.

Mikal Bridges (30 Min, 14 points, 3-7 FGs, 2-5 3PFG, 6-6 FTs, 5 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 5 Turnovers, 4 Steals, 3 Blocks,103 ORtg)  Bridges hit a couple of early threes to get the Cats headed in the right direction.  His defense and rebounding were large factors in the win.  He joined in the Wildcats turnover parade - but other than that played quite well.

Jalen Brunson (24 Min, 12 Points, 5-8 FGs, 1-2 3PFG, 1-1 FTs, 4 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 0 Turnovers, 0 Steals, 163 ORtg)  One of the reasons that the Cats had turnover issues in this game was the limited minutes of Jalen Brunson.  He was the only Cat not to commit a turnover.  Brunson made some crafty lay-ups and a couple of great passes to cutters too.

Eric Paschall (29 Min, 2 Points, 1-3 FGs, 0-2 3PFG, 0-0 FT, 3 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 4 Turnovers, 2 Steals, 59 ORtg)  Paschall put forth a high energy effort on both ends of the floor.  He shot a couple of early three-balls that both were well off the mark.  Later, he scored his lone bucket on a powerful dunk off a great dish.  He didn’t handle the ball well under pressure nor was he very efficient on offense, but Paschall exhibited a consistent motor.

Donte DiVincenzo (28 Min, 20 Points, 7-11 FG, 2-4 3PFG, 4-4 FT, 7 Rebound, 1 Assist, 5 Turnovers, 1 Steal, 0 Blocks, 116 ORtg)  DiVincenzo set a new career high in scoring (eclipsing the 19 points he posted in the last game against St. John’s).  He stroked the three-ball well, got to the rim, and drop in the mid-range jumper as well.  His ball-handling has been improving but he still can get a little loose on occasion - he also has a tendency to force some passes at difficult angles.  His athleticism and strength were on display in this game - both on the glass and finishing through contact.

Dylan Painter (11 Min, 1 Point, 1-2 FT, 2 Rebounds, 1 Turnover, 69 ORtg)  Played aggressively - threw his weight around in the paint and got after it on D and rebounding.

Villanova (22-2 overall, 9-2 Big East) faces Georgetown at the Pavilion, 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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