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St. John’s too balanced, too much for Villanova

st.-john's-too-balanced,-too-much-for-villanova

Joel Soriano scored 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds to guide visiting St. John’s to an 81-71 victory over Villanova in a Big East Conference matchup Saturday afternoon.

Three other players also scored in double figures for the Red Storm (11-4, 3-1 Big East), including Daniss Jenkins, who contributed 18 points and five assists. Brady Dunlap chipped in 15 points and RJ Luis Jr. notched 11 and seven boards off the bench.

The Wildcats (10-5, 3-1) suffered their first conference defeat despite 23 points, seven rebounds and four steals from TJ Bamba. Eric Dixon and Mark Armstrong scored 14 points apiece.

Villanova never got its shooting untracked, finishing at 38.8 percent from the field and 6 of 28 from long range. St. John’s, meanwhile, shot 56.7 percent in the second half and 47.5 percent overall, including a solid 7-of-16 mark from 3-point range as the Red Storm won four the fifth time in six games.

St. John’s stormed out of the gates with 10 straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from Dunlap, for an early double-digit lead.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Luis and Jordan Dingle extended the lead to 20-7, and Zuby Ejiofor’s dunk 11 minutes into the game gave the visitors their first 15-point cushion, 24-9.

The Wildcats kept clawing and cut their deficit to 34-28 late in the half as Dixon made a 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining and then knocked down a jumper in the waning seconds of the period.

However, St. John’s opened the second half by scoring 10 of the first 12 points to go ahead 44-30. Dixon and Armstrong helped Villanova get back within 46-39, but Dunlap made a 3-pointer to restore a double-digit cushion.

The Red Storm’s lead ballooned to 67-50 with 5 1/2 minutes to go, as Jenkins scored five straight points.

The Wildcats scored 12 points in the last two minutes to make the final score more respectable.

–Field Level Media

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