The Villanova Wildcats opened Big East conference play against the St. John’s Red Storm with an 98-86 overtime win at the Pavilion last night (January 2nd, 2013). The Wildcats outscored the Red Storm 15-3 in the overtime session to win a thrilling Big East battle over their long-time conference rival.
Ryan Arcidiacono led the way for the Wildcats with (a career high) 32 points and JayVaughn Pinkston added 26 points. For St. John’s, D’Angelo Harrison rang up a game-high 36 points in a losing effort.
Villanova led at the half 43-40 over St. John’s. The Wildcats then led throughout most of the second half, until the Red Storm went on a 7-0 run to turn a 78-74 Deficit into an 81-78 lead. Darrun Hilliard, who had a tough night shooting from the field, converted three foul shots to tie the game at 81-81 with 1:31 left in regulation. After Pinkston converted two foul shots with 22:1 seconds to go (to give the Wildcats the lead 83-81), Harrison sent the game to overtime by hitting two foul shots with 4.5 seconds left on the clock.
Villanova won the battle of the boards by a plus 13 margin, 47-34. James Bell snagged 11 rebounds, Mouph Yarou grabbed 8 boards (including 7 offensive). Villanova shot extremely well from the charity stripe hitting 34 of 42 attempts. The Wildcats also played more efficiently in the second half and in overtime, committing only 5 turnovers, after coughing up 13 in the first half.
For the Red Storm, who also were playing their first conference game of the season, Amir Garrett collected a team high 9 rebounds, to go with his 15 points. Phil Greene and Jamal Branch also scored in double figures for the visitors.
Key attendees at the game included former NBA head-coach Mike Dunlevy and several prospective recruits including Rysheed Jordan.
With the win, their sixth in a row, the Wildcats record improved to 10-4, 1-0 Big East. St. John’s record fell to 8-5, 0-1 Big East. Next up for Villanova is a game at South Florida on January 9th. St. John’s returns to action on January 5th, when it plays at the University of Cincinnati.
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