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Snap Judgments: No. 3 Villanova at St. John’s (01.14.17)

Though the front-runner for national player of the year, Villanova guard Josh Hart had to work hard for his 11 points that he scored against a determined St. John's squad. (Photo by Robert Cole)
Though the front-runner for national player of the year, Villanova guard Josh Hart was made to work hard for his 11 points that he scored against a determined St. John’s squad on Saturday. (Photo by Robert Cole)

When a team is officially “the hunted,” every other team that squares off with it will produce its best shot at knocking off the king of the mountain. Villanova, the defending national champion, has gotten used to having the bullseye on its back all season long.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright proclaimed that St. John’s “brought it” during Saturday afternoon’s contest, a game which Villanova was down for a good chunk of the first half before taking control and running away with a 70-57 victory. After shooting only 42 percent in the first half, the Wildcats (17-1, 5-1 Big East) woke up in the second half, shooting almost 50 percent in the second frame. Of all of the well-known players who were instrumental in bringing the Wildcats their first national championship in 2016 and are still going strong this season, it was redshirt freshman Donte DiVincenzo who led the team with 19 points, including scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting (2-of-3 on threes) in the first half. All together, four players scored in double figures for Villanova, including Final Four hero Kris Jenkins, who managed to score 10 points despite going only 1-for-10 from the field.

St. John’s (8-11, 2-4) failed in its attempt to get back to .500 in conference play, but showed why it’s one of the most improved teams in the Big East under second-year head coach/school legend Chris Mullin. The Red Storm forced 20 turnovers and stayed in the game in the first half by hitting six of their 13 three-point attempts. Freshman guard Shamorie Ponds, a native of Brooklyn, led St. John’s with 13 points.

There are 30 photos in this gallery, and, after clicking on one to enlarge, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures.

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