PHILADELPHIA — Shamorie Ponds scored 26 points and St. John’s stunned No. 1 Villanova 79-75 on Wednesday night for its second win over an AP Top 5 team in five days.
It was also the first time the Red Storm (12-13, 1-11 Big East) were winning against a No. 1 team in 33 years.
“It’s big for the university and it’s also big for us,” Ponds said.
Ponds also finished with five rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Justin Simon added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds to go along with seven assists, two steals and a block for St. John’s, which beat the then-No. 4 Duke Blue Devils 81-77 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
“These are huge wins,” St. John’s coach Chris Mullin said. “It’s a testament to their perseverance, unselfishness with each other, their confidence.”
Marvin Clark II added 15 points and six rebounds, Bashir Ahmed ended with 10 points and Tariq Owens had nine points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocks for the Red Storm, who were winning for the first time in conference play this season.
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Jalen Brunson, one of the leading candidates for national player of the year, paced Villanova with a game-high 28 points and nearly lead his team to the comeback victory.
Brunson made a layup and then completed the 3-point play by making the free throw to pull the home side within a point at 67-66 with 1:34 left.
However, Clark II completed a 3-point play of his own to push back the St. John’s lead to four before the visitors sealed the win by knocking down their free throws down the stretch.
“When they beat Duke, I said it was no surprise,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said.
Collin Gillespie scored 12 points off the bench and Omari Spellman tallied 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for the Wildcats (22-2, 9-2 Big East), who had their nine-game winning streak snapped.
Mikal Bridges and Donte DiVincenzo also scored 11 points apiece in the defeat for Villanova, which was without junior forward Eric Paschall, who sustained a concussion on Sunday in a win over Seton Hall.
The Wildcats are also still without Phil Booth, who has been sidelined indefinitely with a broken hand.