Villanova 98, St. John's 86

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 02, 2013
Ryan Arcidiacono scored 32 points and JayVaughn Pinkston had 26 to lead Villanova to 98-86 overtime win over St. John's on Wednesday night. Darrun Hilliard was clutch down the stretch and into OT for the Wildcats (10-4, 1-0) in their Big East opener. Hilliard's three free throws tied the game late in regulation. He made the go-ahead free throws and followed with a layup to give Villanova a fast four-point lead in OT. Hilliard finished with 14 points to help the Wildcats win their sixth straight game. Villanova outscored St. John's 15-3 in overtime. D'Angelo Harrison led the Red Storm (8-5, 0-1) with 36 points. Amir Garrett and Phil Greene IV each scored 15. St. John's and Villanova are among the seven Big East schools that have decided to leave the conference so they can construct a league focused on basketball. After a sluggish start following an 11-day break, St. John's led most of the second half thanks to a huge game from Harrison. Greene's go-ahead 3, followed by a runner, put the Red Storm up 81-78 and a nice road win in sight. Hilliard, who had missed 8 of 9 shots, was fouled by Garrett on a 3-point attempt. He calmly sank all three with 1:31 left to tie the game at 81. Garrett picked up his fifth foul moments later, sending Pinkston to the line with 22.1 seconds left. Pinkston swished both shots for an 83-81 lead. Hilliard returned the foul, this time getting Harrison. Harrison sandwiched two tying free throws around a Villanova timeout to make it 83-83. Pinkston lost the ball at halfcourt on Villanova's final possession to send the game into overtime. The Wildcats, who were 5-13 in conference play last season, had to be encouraged by what they have in Arcidiacono and Pinkston. Arcidiacono's sixth 3-pointer put the Wildcats up 63-56. He hadn't hit more than four in a game this season. Arcidiacono has been an overall solid scorer at point after sitting out last season with a back injury. He had surgery last December on a herniated disc that caused pain down his legs and forced sleepless nights. With 6:50 left, he already topped his season high with 26 points. Harrison kept the pressure on with his fifth pointer only to have - yup, Arcidiacono - come right back and hit one of his own. Harrison followed with a 3 and Greene hit a long two that helped the Red Storm tie the game at 72. Pinkston and Arcidiacono scored 24 of Villanova's 28 points during a two-man surge that gave the Wildcats a 78-76 lead. Each team shook off slow starts (Villanova had six turnovers in first 8 minutes; St. John's missed seven of its first eight shots) for an entertaining end of the half. Arcidiacono hit consecutive 3s to pull the Wildcats within one. Harrison, who scored 17 points in the half, buried consecutive 3s for a 38-35 lead. Jamal Branch leveled Arcidiacono with a stiff shot to the face and was whistled for a technical. Arcidiacono made two throws as part of his 17-point first half. Hilliard stripped Branch of the ball and fed it to Pinkston for a fast-break dunk that sent the Wildcats into the half up 43-40.
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