St. John’s knows NCAA Tournament hopes on line at Villanova

Julian Champagnie succinctly described St. John’s scenario effectively Saturday night time.

“Next game we play Villanova on the road, which we have to win now,” the sophomore star mentioned.

That’s what the ugly loss to DePaul at residence did to the Johnnies’ now-fading NCAA Tournament hopes. Losing to the worst group within the Big East put them in an extremely troublesome position, going through a must-win sport on the street towards the premier group within the convention.

A win Tuesday (8 p.m.; TV: CBSSN; radio: WNYM 970 AM) in Philadelphia will get them again within the combine. Anything much less, and St. John’s has to doubtless win the Big East Tournament or at least attain the title sport. Pulling off the upset won’t be straightforward. It is an 11-point underdog towards the eighth-ranked Wildcats, who shall be out for revenge after shedding at St. John’s by 11 on Feb. 3.

“They’ve responded throughout the year, so I expect them to respond the right way [again],” coach Mike Anderson mentioned. “It’s a great opportunity, it’s a great challenge. We’ll find out a bit more about our basketball team.”

For a number of hours Monday afternoon, there was some doubt whether or not the sport would even be performed, in accordance with sources. There was a optimistic check of a member of the St. John’s athletic division and make contact with tracing adopted. Fortunately, everybody was cleared and made the journey.

The focus will must be on the defensive finish, after St. John’s (14-9, 8-8) was overwhelmed within the paint by DePaul and allowed the Blue Demons to shoot a blistering 63 p.c from the sector. During the Red Storm’s robust five-week efficiency earlier than that loss, throughout which they gained eight of 10 video games, protection carried them.

In the victory over Villanova, St. John’s held the Wildcats to 32.3 p.c taking pictures from the sector and compelled 17 turnovers. Star level guard Collin Gillespie dedicated a season-high six turnovers and scored a season-low 4 factors. He was locked down by Big East Freshman of the Year front-runner Posh Alexander, who like lots of his teammates, struggled immensely towards DePaul.

“We have to come out with the right mindset,” senior guard Rasheem Dunn mentioned. “We received away from our identification, which is protection, and DePaul attacked us. We can’t dwell on it. That sport is over.

“I expect us to go out there and play with our identity, just being the total opposite of what we were on Saturday.”

Junior guard Greg Williams Jr., whose lower-back damage flared up towards DePaul and restricted him to 10 minutes, is anticipated to play towards Villanova, in accordance with Anderson. He has practiced absolutely the final two days.

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