NEW YORK — While it is true that a small difference in shots made normally is the difference between winning and losing in any basketball game, both Villanova and St. John’s were struggling making any type of shots in Friday night’s contest. It was a couple of veterans for the Wildcats, however, who made just enough baskets to lift their team to a hard-fought win and, possibly, put them on the road to salvation in trying to get Villanova back toward the top of the conference.
Caleb Daniels scored 16 points while Brandon Slater scored all 14 of his points in the second half as Villanova won its second straight contest, a 57-49 victory over the Red Storm inside of Madison Square Garden on Friday night. Slater’s explosion in the final 20 minutes helped Villanova come back from a 44-38 deficit midway through the second half, as the Wildcats ended the game on a 19-5 run.
Villanova also rallied from a six-point deficit midway through the second half in its last game, a 77-73 home victory over Georgetown on Monday. Though the Wildcats two wins this weekend are against teams in the bottom half of the Big East standings, one of last year’s Final Four participants has started to get the winning feeling again right before a crucial three-game stretch against teams in the top half of the league, starting next Sunday against Providence and concluding with road tilts with Marquette and Creighton.
“In this game, from start to finish, we were really good defensively,” first-year Villanova head coach Kyle Neptune said. “That’s really what we ask our guys to do, to lock in defensively and just bring it. Win, lose, or draw, if we play like that defensively, we’ll be proud of our guys.”
Defense carried the evening for both teams, as neither offense shot over 40 percent from the field. However, the Wildcats were able to hold the Johnnies to just 32.1 percent from the field (18-for-56), including limiting St. John’s to just two field goal makes in the final 8:30 of the game.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday evening’s game, with all photos taken by ALOST photographer Danny Suriel. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 18 pictures in total.