The Villanova Wildcats overcame a five-point deficit in the last 2:13 of the game to beat the St. Joseph’s Hawks 65-61 in an intense, hotly contested Big 5 battle at the Pavilion on Tuesday, December 12th.
Midway through the first half, the Hawks went on a 13-2 run, wiping out a 6 point Villanova lead to take a 24-19 edge. The Wildcats fought back and regained the lead on consecutive three-point buckets by James Bell and Ryan Arcidiacono to go the locker room with a 33-31 lead. Arcidiacono’s basket, which brought the Villanova fans to their feet in a roar of cheers, resulted in the seventh lead change in the opening twenty minutes.
After the intermission, Villanova trailed 61-56 after Langston Galloway hit a trey with a little more then two minutes to go. The Wildcats then mounted a rally and closed out the game on a 9-0 run, led by James Bell who scored 7 of the 9 points. Bell converted two foul shots, then hit the go ahead three pointer from the corner to lift the Wildcats back into the lead 63-61. Bell also added 2 more foul shots to ice the game and close out the scoring as the Villanova student section chanted “The Hawk is dead”!
The game saw the score tied seven times with fifteen lead changes. With the win, Villanova improved to 6-4 on the year, 2-2 in the Big 5. St. Joseph’s record fell to 5-3 overall, and 0-1 in Big 5 action.
Villanova was led in scoring by Bell and JayVaughn Pinkston, each with 12 points. Maurice Sutton was Villanova’s rebounding leader, pulling down 9 boards. Overall, Villanova won the rebounding battle by a margin of 39-33. Significantly, the Wildcats had 15 offensive rebounds compared to 8 for the Hawks. For the visitors, Galloway was the leading scorer with 22 points. Carl Jones added 16 points. St. Joseph’s leading rebounder was C.J. Aiken with 8. Villanova ended up hitting 22 of 61 field goal attempts (36.1%), 8 of 24 three point shots (33.3 %), and converted 13 of 17 free throw attempts (76.5 %). St Joseph’s shot 18-47 from the field (38.3 %), 10 of 26 three point shots (38.5 %), and 15-22 from the charity stripe (68.2 %). Each team was hit with a technical foul during the game, Villanova in the first half, and St. Joe’s in the second half.
Several former Wildcats players were in attendance including Mike Nardi, Malik Allen, and Shane Clark.
Villanova swings back into action on December 16th when they will host the Delaware Blue Hens at the Pavilion. St. Joseph’s is off until Saturday, December 22nd when they entertain Fairfield.
You can view the entire post game press conference video for both Villanova & St. Joe’s by CLICKING HERE!
You can view an expanded photo gallery below (click thumbnails to open full-sized slide show):