Jan 11, 2014, 4:27 PM EST
It wasn’t pretty, but Villanova held off St. John’s on Saturday for a 74-67 Big East win in Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats only shot 35 percent from the field in the win, but held St. John’s to 34 percent from the field and 2-for-12 from the three-point line as Villanova outlasted the Red Storm for the victory.
The Wildcats never led by more than nine points and through the first 14:30 of the second half, the game was within three points the entire time, but a 10-1 run catapulted Villanova to a lead they would never relinquish.
Playing in his hometown, JayVaughn Pinkston had a solid effort for Villanova, going for 15 points and 10 rebounds, and he was helped by a balanced Villanova effort that also saw freshman guard Josh Hart go for 14 points off the bench. Point guard Ryan Arcidiacono played 35 minutes and scored 13 points and Darrun Hilliard struggled to 1-for-1o shooting from the field, but finished with 10 points, as his three-pointer with a little over five minutes left in the second half gave the Wildcats its biggest lead of the game at 63-56.
Daniel Ochefu also added 10 points for the Wildcats and their balanced scoring and sound defensive effort was enough to get past St. John’s.
The win wasn’t pretty for Villanova, but Jay Wright has to be happy that his team was able to make one final push during a game in which they struggled offensively to earn the win. If three-pointers aren’t falling for Villanova — and they weren’t on Saturday, as the Wildcats shot 5-for-16 from beyond the arc — they can be in trouble, but by earning a road conference win over St. John’s it proved that Villanova’s defense can carry them to victory in some games in spite of poor perimeter shooting.
- Butler upsets No. 5 North Carolina in Battle 4 Atlantis opener 2
- If No. 12 Villanova doesn’t have a star on their roster, no one told JayVaughn Pinkston 0
- JayVaughn Pinkston’s block gives No. 12 Villanova a win over No. 19 Michigan (VIDEO) 2
- Maryland upsets No. 13 Iowa State as fearless freshmen mix with gritty veterans for balanced effort 3
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s selflessness during the Maui Invitational will help No. 3 Arizona in the long run 0
- Player of the Year Power Rankings: A familiar face on top, but a few surprises behind him 0
- Ricky Doyle secures 70-63 win for No. 19 Michigan over Oregon in Legends Classic 0
- Poll: 54 percent of people think Kentucky beats the 76ers, 54 percent of people are dumb (31)
- Villanova’s win is evidence of why VCU may have peaked as a basketball program (14)
- Michigan’s John Beilein rips ESPN for late tip time during Tuesday’s loss (13)
- Rick Pitino on blow out win: ‘We played four white guys and an Egyptian’ (12)
- College Basketball Talk’s latest top 25: Kentucky reigns, but how far will Kansas, Florida slide? (5)