Chris Mullin meets media following St. John's Big East Tournament quarterfinal loss to Villanova. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
NEW YORK -- The 35th Big East Tournament quarterfinal round opened with St. John’s facing top seed Villanova. The Wildcats never trailed as they posted a 108-67 victory over the Red Storm. The 41-point margin ties the record for the tournament, as Syracuse defeated Boston College 96-55 back in 1999. Villanova advances to the semifinals, improving to 29-3. St. John’s closes the book on the season at 14-19.
First five possessions:
Villanova: Three-point field goal, missed field goal, missed three-point field goal, three-point field goal, three free throws
St. John’s: Turnover, turnover, field goal, field goal, missed field goal
Three minutes in, the score was 9-4 in favor of Villanova. In actuality, you could say Kris Jenkins had nine, as he had all of Villanova’s points for these opening possessions. St. John’s started poorly, with turnovers on their first two possessions before settling down. The first few possessions here tell the story: It would come down to how well St. John’s could defend the Wildcats, or rather, if they could.
First half observations: Jay Wright did a nice job changing up defenses. Through the first eight minutes, St. John’s saw full court pressure, some man and zone from the Wildcats, all to keep the Red Storm off balance on their offensive end.
Early on, it was a case of closing out on the perimeter. Chris Mullin’s defense then got attacked inside with dribble penetration. Against the zone, St. John’s Federico Mussini hit a few threes. The Red Storm got inside the zone on a number of possessions, but unfortunately, were unable to finish. St. John’s needs more than relying on the perimeter in their zone offense. Villanova, though, was running on all cylinders.
Halftime: Villanova 52, St. John’s 26
Possessions: Villanova 34, St. John’s 31
Offensive efficiency: Villanova 153, St. John’s 84
Villanova played the entire first half without committing a foul.
Second half observations: Villanova picked right up where they left off. At the 16-minute time out it is 66-33 in favor of the Wildcats. Up 33, Villanova’s Jalen Brunson almost toppled over a press table trying to save the ball before it went out. That tells you something about this team. St. John’s pressured part of the second half. All that did was increase the bleeding, as Villanova broke the press, winding up with open floor opportunities.
Aside from Marcus Lovett and Shamorie Ponds, it was a tough afternoon for St. John’s.
Donte DiVincenzo shot 5-of-6 from three for Villanova. Beside his outside toughness, one has to admire the hustle and savvy of the redshirt freshman guard.
Offensive efficiency: St. John’s 99, Villanova 159
Effective field goal percentage: St. John’s 55, Villanova 76
Free throw rate: St. John’s 16, Villanova 44
Offensive rebound percentage: St. John’s 21, Villanova 38
Turnover rate: St. John’s 21, Villanova 10
Leading scorers and effectiveness factors:
Villanova: Donte Divincenzo, 25 points, EF 33 (EF per minute: 1.07)
St. John’s: Bashir Ahmed 12 points (EF 16), Marcus LoVett, 12 points (EF 15)
What Villanova did well: A little of everything. Besides owning the Four Factors, the Wildcats led 34-16 on points in the paint and 52-26 on bench points.
What St. John’s did well: Shoot from the field. A 9-of-22 rate from distance helped the eFG mark.
Ball Control Index: Villanova 4.29, St. John’s 1.29
NOTES: Dylan Painter of Villanova led all with 6 rebounds. LoVett added a team-high five assists to his 12 points. Jenkins led Villanova with six assists against one turnover. The Wildcats had four players with four or more assists and had 23 assists on their 36 field goals. Given their offensive weapons, sharing the ball in that manner is a main reason Jay Wright’s group is so formidable.
Postgame Quotes (courtesy of ASAP Sports) Villanova