Villanova Weathers Red Storm, Open Big East Season with Overtime Win
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.
You can view additional photos below (click thumbnails to enlarge):