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Villanova Hands St John’s Their 2nd Loss of the Season.

For the first time under the leadership of Coach Chris Mullin, St John’s is ranked. They enter Tuesday’s Big East matchup against Villanova ranked 24th in the AP Top 25 poll, after missing it for the last 4 years. They secured their spot after a comeback win over Georgetown, coming into tonight’s game 14-1 on the season.

Shamorie Ponds from Brooklyn, NY, and Big East Player of the Week for a second time this season, came out explosive on offense to lead the Johnnies to a 13 point lead early in the 1sthalf. However St John’s would see that Villanova would not be an easy matchup; Nova goes on a 7-0 run as they close the gap on St John’s lead. Villanova forward, Eric Paschall blazes from the floor with 15 early points in the first half; he drains a trey to bring Nova back within reach. Ponds would answer with a deep 3 of his own as he gives St John’s a 10-point lead (39-29). The Wildcats would hold on, with 2 foul shots made and a 3 point shot by Phil Booth down the stretch, they would find themselves within arms reach. St Johns would lead by 5, 39-34 to close out the 1st half.

With the 2nd  half underway, Villanova would look to close the gap and gain their first lead of the game, and with a deep 3 from Phil Booth, The Wildcats would be on their way to a comeback. They trailed St John’s by 3, 50-47. With a dance to the basket, Villanova takes their first lead of the game, 51-50. Shamorie Ponds would have to find the aggression he portrayed in the first half to keep the Red Storms in the lead, and with a blow by to the basket, he scores his first basket of the 2nd half, putting the Johnnies back up by 2. Villanova refused to be run over as their defense began to crank up, followed by their offense. Booth continued to score from 3 point territory, draining a 3 and bringing Villanova within 1.

With 5 minutes left on the clock, the game is tied at 62. Both teams focused on a win. While Ponds goes cold, missing his last 4 shots, Villanova would capitalize on The Johnnies offensive halt. Phil Booth runs into a 3 and gives Villanova a 1 point lead (68-67). In the final seconds of the game, St John’s trails Villanova 71-67, with what looked like a second loss of the season approaching. Villanova’s Forward Sadiqq Bey, sinks 2 key free throws, sealing the win. As Villanova defeats St. John’s 76-71.

Ponds– Shamorie showed why he notched his 2nd Big East Player of the Week of the season. Finishing the night with 25 points and dishing 6 assists.

Booth and Paschall on Fire– Phill Booth had a phenomenal game against the Red Storm. Draining 6/11 3’s, he finished the night with 23 of Villanova’s 76 points. He and Eric Paschall, who scored 25 on the night, led the Wildcats to a staggering victory over St John’s as they battled from being down 5 with 5 minutes left, they controlled the pace, created space and secured the win.


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