NEW YORK – Freshman guard Posh Alexander and his pumped-up teammates doused Mike Anderson with water after their largest win but beneath the second-year St. John’s coach.
Simply outdoors Carnesecca Area, college students cheered so loudly from their dorms that jubilant gamers might hear them within the locker room.
It was that form of evening for the abruptly surging Crimson Storm.
“I allow them to see one other facet of me,” a smiling Anderson stated.
Alexander scored 16 factors and St. John’s smothered No. 3 Villanova, upsetting the ice-cold Wildcats 70-59 on Wednesday to halt their nine-game successful streak.
Julian Champagnie had 14 factors — all within the second half — and a career-high 13 rebounds for the rising Crimson Storm (12-7, 6-6 Large East), who’ve gained 5 straight video games and 6 of seven.
This one, Champagnie stated, confirmed they’re “a legit staff.”
And now, perhaps one with a legit shot at an NCAA Match push.
Flashing fast and energetic fingers everywhere in the court docket, St. John’s turned up its strain protection and hounded the skilled Wildcats (11-2, 6-1) into 17 turnovers and 32% taking pictures in an unsightly efficiency.
“I assumed our protection was the catalyst,” Anderson stated. “It was the Johnnies’ evening.”
Villanova was held 12 factors beneath its earlier season low for its first loss since Nov. 28 to Virginia Tech in time beyond regulation. The Wildcats went almost 4 weeks between video games due to coronavirus points earlier than returning with a Jan. 19 win over Seton Corridor.
“I believe the press was what we anticipated. I believe our response was what I did not count on,” Villanova coach Jay Wright stated. “They actually took us out of what we needed to do.”
St. John’s has been a stunning thorn in Villanova’s facet just lately, with wins over a top-ranked Wildcats staff in February 2018 and in opposition to the defending nationwide champions in 2019.
The newest victory gave St. John’s its first four-game Large East successful streak because the 2014-15 NCAA Match staff. Three of the wins have come on the highway, too.
Alexander, who performs with a relentless frenzy and leads the Large East in steals, added six assists, 4 rebounds and three thefts.
“He had an outstanding evening,” Anderson stated. “He performs all out, each ends of the ground.”
Alexander dominated his vital matchup with senior star Collin Gillespie, who was 0 for 8 from 3-point vary and dedicated six turnovers in a forgettable four-point efficiency.
With a little bit beneath seven minutes left, Alexander stripped Gillespie at midcourt and coasted in for an uncontested dunk that gave St. John’s its largest lead at 58-41.
Gillespie entered with 12 turnovers all season whereas taking part in 35 minutes per sport and averaging 15.5 factors. The Wildcats got here in averaging solely 8.3 turnovers, finest within the nation.
St. John’s, third within the nation at 9.9 steals per sport, completed with eight and likewise blocked seven pictures to assist produce an 18-8 edge in fast-break factors.
It felt like extra.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 14 factors and 17 rebounds for Villanova. Caleb Daniels scored 16.
“They seem to be a actually good staff. I do not assume their report does them justice,” Robinson-Earl stated. “They play actually exhausting. … They have been a very powerful staff defensively.”
Villanova scored the primary seven factors of the sport, however St. John’s opened the second half with a 15-4 blitz to construct a 14-point lead with 13:30 remaining.
The pandemic has put all St. John’s residence video games on campus with no followers permitted, so this marked the primary time Villanova performed at 5,602-seat Carnesecca Area since January 1994. The groups usually meet at Madison Sq. Backyard, the place St. John’s normally performs lots of its high-profile video games. Villanova is essentially the most frequent opponent in program historical past.
Wright recalled visiting as a Villanova assistant and watching highschool playoff video games within the constructing. He talked to his staff about what to anticipate.
“These guys, I didn’t even know in the event that they knew the place it was or something,” Wright recounted Tuesday. “So I stated, `Simply so you understand, we’re going into a troublesome, tight area that they press in and so they could make it actually powerful for you. I don’t need you being shocked once we don’t roll as much as The Backyard.’”
Villanova was the primary top-5 opponent to play within the Queens gymnasium since St. John’s misplaced 72-71 to No. 2 Syracuse in February 1980, the primary season of the unique Large East. The final time St. John’s beat a top-3 staff on campus, Sonny Dove had 28 factors and 24 rebounds in a 1966 win over No. 3 Saint Joseph’s throughout Corridor of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca’s first season on the helm.
Villanova was purported to host Xavier on Sunday, however that sport was postponed Tuesday due to COVID-19 points within the Musketeers’ program and changed Wednesday with a house sport in opposition to Georgetown that had been slated for Feb. 17.
Wright acknowledged Tuesday that coach Mark Few of top-ranked Gonzaga, additionally freed up this weekend and keen to check his West Coast Convention staff, had known as about probably organising a No. 1 vs. No. 3 showdown on Tremendous Bowl Sunday.
“Oh, positively. He does on a regular basis. He’s the grasp scheduler,” Wright stated. “However I advised him, I stated: `Our precedence needs to be the Large East first. If we will get a Large East sport, we’ve bought to play the Large East sport. We owe it to the Large East.'”
St. John’s has taken off regardless of a again damage to beginning guard Greg Williams Jr. that triggered him to overlook the earlier three video games and almost all the previous 5. Williams, who was averaging 10.9 factors per sport, got here off the bench within the first half and threw down a one-handed, fast-break dunk with authority to the delight of his teammates. However he tweaked his again, Anderson stated, and people have been the one factors for Williams in 4 minutes on the court docket.
Villanova: Tries to bounce again and earn a season sweep of Georgetown after a 76-63 highway victory on Dec. 11.
St. John’s: Saturday at Windfall, which has gained 9 of the previous 11 conferences.
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