Instant Replay: No. 9 Villanova 57, St. John's 54

usa-darrun-hilliard-villanova-slideshow.jpg

Instant Replay: No. 9 Villanova 57, St. John's 54

BOX SCORE

Ninth-ranked Villanova overcame some poor shooting and mental mistakes to survive with a 57-54 win over St. John’s at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats improved their record to 24-3 and 12-2 in the Big East Conference. Meanwhile, St. John’s (18-10, 8-7) had its six-game winning streak come to a halt.

Turning point
After Daniel Ochefu split a pair of free throws with 34 seconds remaining in the game to give Villanova a two-point edge, the Wildcats’ defense locked down just enough.

Villanova forced a pass to St. John’s guard Phil Greene IV, who traveled when met by Ochefu at the rim.

Ryan Arcidiacono proceeded to split his own two free throws after being intentionally fouled by the Red Storm. The Villanova defense again came through in a critical spot on the ensuing possession, first blocking a three-point attempt from D’Angelo Harrison before fouling him with just 1.5 seconds remaining.

Harrison made his first freebie before committing a lane violation while purposely missing the second shot and the ‘Cats were able to hold on.

Big men on campus
Darrun Hilliard was the only Wildcat clicking offensively. He scored 18 points on 6 of 8 shooting, including 4 of 5 from three-point range. He also grabbed four rebounds.

Arcidiacono finished with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists. Ochefu added five points and 11 rebounds.

The Red Storm had three players score in double figures, led by Harrison with 15.

Philly native Rysheed Jordan had 13 points and six rebounds for the Red Storm, while Jakarr Sampson chipped in with 12 points.

Inside the box score
• The Wildcats moved to 7-0 this season in games decided by five points or less.

• Neither team shot the ball well Saturday. Villanova made 38.5 percent of its shots, while St. John’s connected on 32.8 percent.

• Villanova won the rebounding battle, 40-34.

• The Wildcats committed 15 turnovers in the game. St. John’s had nine.

• The game featured 35 fouls combined from the two teams.

• Villanova's all-time mark at the Wells Fargo Center now stands at 37-33.

Series
Villanova continued its recent dominance over St. John’s, winning for the 13th time in the last 15 meetings between the two programs.

Despite the loss, St. John’s still holds a 59-49 edge in the all-time series.

What’s next?
Villanova returns to the Pavilion for the first time since Feb. 7 when it hosts Butler (12-14, 2-12) at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

St. John’s gets back in action against Xavier (18-9, 8-6) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

West Chester baseball wins Atlantic Regional, moves on to national championship tourney

ed-mailliard-west-chester-baseball.jpg
Photo credit: Ed Mailliard

West Chester baseball wins Atlantic Regional, moves on to national championship tourney

West Chester University baseball is moving on to the 2017 NCAA National Championships.

The Golden Rams won the Division II Atlantic Regional Final on Monday with a 12-7 decision over Winston-Salem State at Russell Diethrick Park.

Sophomore first baseman Jared Melone reached base six times, going 5 for 5 with a walk and four RBIs, while shortstop Nick Ward scored four runs and collected three hits to help West Chester capture its fourth regional title in program history.

Senior right-hander Josh McClain picked up the win in relief with three innings of one-run ball, as the Golden Rams scored five in the eighth inning to win their first regional crown since 2012, the year they won the national championship. 

West Chester is now 40-11 overall and will open national championship tournament play on Saturday at 3 p.m. against North Georgia in Grand Prairie, Texas.

For more details, see below.

Mohamed Bamba picks Texas over Duke, Kentucky

us-bamba.jpg
USA Today Images

Mohamed Bamba picks Texas over Duke, Kentucky

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart has won the recruiting sweepstakes for highly-ranked forward Mohamed Bamba.

The 6-foot-11 Bamba signed with the Longhorns on Thursday, picking Texas over Duke, Kentucky, Michigan and Harvard. Bamba is ranked by national recruiting services as one of the top players in the country and already projected by some as an early 2018 NBA draft pick.

Signing Bamba is a huge boost for Smart after a 22-loss season, Texas' worst in more than 30 years. Freshman center Jarrett Allen has entered this year's NBA draft and freshman guard Andrew Jones is still considering whether to return to Texas.

Bamba average 12.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.4 blocks as a high school senior in Westtown, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, and was a McDonald's All-American.