Figueroa lifts St. John's to 71-65 win over No. 13 Villanova
By DOUG FEINBERG
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - LJ Figueroa scored 22 points and St. John's rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half to stun No. 13 Villanova 71-65 on Sunday night.
The Red Storm (19-7, 7-6 Big East) were down 48-34 with 12:30 left. St. John's scored 20 of the next 25 points to take its first lead on Figueroa's 3-pointer from the corner that brought the sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden to its feet. During that run, Villanova coach Jay Wright was hit with a technical foul for arguing a call.
The teams traded the lead over the next few minutes before Figueroa hit another 3-pointer that gave the Red Storm a 58-57 advantage with 3:12 left that started an 8-0 run.
The Red Storm led 63-57 with 50 seconds left when Villanova's Phil Booth was fouled shooting a 3-pointer. He made 2 of 3 free throws to get the Wildcats within four.
That's as close as they could get as St. John's converted its free throws down the stretch. The win snapped a 12-game losing streak for St. John's against Villanova at Madison Square Garden dating back 17 years.
Joe Cremo scored 14 points to lead Villanova (20-6, 11-2) while Eric Paschall added 11 points and 14 rebounds.
The game was a little bit of revenge for the Red Storm, who lost to Villanova by five after blowing an 11-point second-half lead on Jan. 8.
The Wildcats jumped all over the Red Storm early on, outscoring them 29-10 over the first 12 minutes. During that stretch, the Red Storm went without a basket for 7:39.
The lead ballooned from seven to 19 in that spurt which was capped by Paschall's 3-pointer with 8:50 left in the half. Shamorie Ponds finally ended the drought with a putback with 5:58 left before intermission.
St. John's scored the final six points of the half, closing to within 11 when Simon banked in a 3-pointer just before the buzzer from the opposite 3-point line that made it 37-26. It was the only 3-pointer of the half for St. John's, which had missed its first nine attempts from beyond the arc.
TIP-INS: Ponds had 11 points on 2-of-13 shooting. ... The 26 points was the lowest that St. John's has scored in the first half this season, surpassing the 27 points the team had against Butler. ... Marvin Clark II hit a 3-pointer to start the second half and cross the 1,000-point career mark. It was his first basket of the game. ... St. John's is 3-1 this season in the conference against the top two teams - Marquette and Villanova.
Villanova: At Georgetown on Wednesday.
St. John's: At Providence on Wednesday.
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