Durand Johnson led St. John’s (7-15, 0-9) with a team-high 13 points, while Ron Mvouika had 11 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Christian Jones added 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
“Villanova is a great team, so you have to give them credit,” said Mvouika. “We had a run of empty possessions for eight minutes where we kept giving the ball away. A team like Villanova will make us pay for that.”
Josh Hart posted team-highs with 16 points and 11 boards for Villanova (18-3, 8-1). Kris Jenkins also had a double-double for the Wildcats, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Villanova shot just 36.2 percent (21-of-58) from the floor, but posted 48-35 advantage on the glass.
“I thought our defensive effort was really good, especially in the half court,” said head coach Chris Mullin. “We made it tough for them, but we didn’t capitalize. We had a hard time putting the ball in the basket. The rebounds hurt us a lot and they were a big factor.”
“Tomorrow we’ll look at this game, try to correct some things and move on to Xavier,” he added. “That approach hasn’t varied. We’re looking forward.”
St. John’s was scheduled to return to action on February 3 with a road game against No. 7 Xavier.
Women fall short in Chicago
Taking on the top team in the Big East, St. John’s battled back from a large second-half deficit before ultimately falling to No. 23 DePaul, 77-71, on Sunday afternoon in The Windy City.
“I thought we gave a great effort in the second half to make it a close game,” said head coach Joe Tartamella. “We need to focus on the positive aspects and carry them over to next weekend.”
Danaejah Grant led the Red Storm (16-6, 7-4) with 24 points on the afternoon, highlighted by a three-for-five effort from beyond the arc. The senior guard also pulled down seven boards.
Junior guard Aaliyah Lewis tallied 13 points for the Red Storm, while backcourt mate Aliyyah Handford registered 12 points and six boards. The senior guard also matched a career-high with seven assists.
Junior forward Jade Walker recorded eight points and set a new career-high with 14 rebounds against the Blue Demons. Freshman Akina Wellere, a Chicago native, chipped in six points and three rebounds.
DePaul (17-7, 9-2), one of the nation’s top three-point shooting teams, connected on eight tries from beyond the arc. The Blue Demons also assisted on 24 of their 30 made field goals.
Next up for the women is a road game against Seton Hall on February 7 at 2:30 p.m.