USA TODAY Sports
The Villanova Wildcats fought off a pesky St. John's squad to advance into the next round of the Big East tournament.
It was a crucial win for the Wildcats, who, as Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation writes in his latest bracket, should be set for an at-large bid after the win tonight.
It took a good 30 minutes for Villanova to shake St. John's out of their home court. Senior forward Mouphtaou Yarou scored a game high 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting and sophomore forward JayVaughn Pinkston added 12 points and nine rebounds. The Wildcats are looking for an invitation to the NCAA tournament after missing out on the action in 2012. Previous to the exclusion in 2012, Villanova had been to the tournament seven straight years.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well, but the Red Storm were able to stay in the game because of the Wildcats' struggles from behind the three point line. Villanova went just 3 of 17 from behind the arc. Turnovers hampered both teams throughout the game, and after taking a three-point lead with 17 minutes left, St. John's never led again as Villanova slowly pulled away.
Sophomore guard Phil Greene IV scored 16 points and freshman forward Jakarr Sampson added 13 points for St. John's, which shot just 35.6 percent from the field.
Villanova will go onto to play the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. Villanova upset the then-No. 5 Cardinals, 73-64, on Jan. 22, the only time they played each other this year.
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