Sunday, February 27, 2011

St. John's Post Game: Closing Out

Down 4 with 6:14 to Go...
Corey Stokes hit his sixth (and last) three point attempt to bring the 'Cats to -2, 61-63. The Johnnies brought the ball up to their end of the floor and passed around the perimeter looking for the seam in the Wildcats' zone. A Horne pass to Evans in the low post (Justin Burrell was playing the other forward position and blocked out of action by Dom Cheek) brought a one-on-one with Antonio Pena and a score with time expiring. Evans missed the and-one (Pena fouled him on the score), and what followed for the next minute and 50 seconds was three St. John's empty possessions, interleaved with four Villanova possessions, Wayns scored on a lane drive and an and-one on the fourth possession. Neither team seemed ready to seize the moment, but having drawn to within one of the Red Storm, Villanova seemed to forget why they were there. The Red Storm peeled off a 16-4 run over those last four minutes, two scores from the field (runners) and 12 points from the line.

The Athletic Department website posted the official boxscore and the AP wire story, "No. 15 Villanova Upset by No. 23 St. John's, 81-68", lead with emerging Big East Player of the Year contender Dwight Hardy's 34 point outing, a career-high for the senior guard. The breakdown by halves...

Opponent:St. John's University
 Offense Defense
1st2ndGame 1st2ndGame

Runs, Getting the First & Last Word...
A few of the posts this season have looked at the impact of play in the first four minutes of each half. The Redmen opened the game with a six minute, 20-7 run, that put the 'Cats on their heels and set the tone for the rest of the game. The Wildcats found themselves in a hole that they spent the next 30 minutes digging out. A comparison of efficiencies for that six minute stretch...

St. John's71045231120111.82

The Johnnies' efficiency during the opening minutes was enough to sustain them when Villanova mounted a counter punch through much of the first half. Their eFG% was 90.0%, a reflection of their super 4-5 from beyond the arc. Their PPWS, 1.75, shows the effect of both their three point shot conversion and their trips to the line. Villanova's shooting numbers, 35.0% and 0.64 respectively, were as unimpressive as their points per possession. Though the Wildcats counter punched with a 29-21 run of their own through the end of the first half, the 1.26 points per possession (29 points in 23 possessions) was not efficient enough to overcome St. John's own 21 points in 23 possessions (0.91 ppp). By the 36 minute mark the Wildcats had cut the deficit to 1, 64-65, but the Johnnies' last run, 16-4 over the last four minutes turned back Villanova in convincing fashion. The numbers illustrate how the Red Storm closed out the game convincingly...

St. John's22001216101682.00

One of the more remarkable stats from those last eight St. John's possessions (a 2.00 ppp is pretty remarkable) is that the Johnnies had no empty trips. They scored at least one point every time they took possession of the ball in those last four minutes. A team cannot lose if they score everytime they touch the ball. During a sequence when the Wildcats desparately needed to hang empty trips on the Red Storm, they could not. Not once. During those two runs, the Johnnies outscored the Wildcats 36-11, a huge deficit to overcome. Tough enough to overcome a single 20-7 run, credit the 'Cats that they could close to one. Overcoming two double digit runs in a single game? Almost impossible. Credit St. John's -- while they could, and often did, mount double digit runs on opponents last season, they rarely mounted two double digit runs in a single game.

St. John's raises their record to 19-9 overall and 11-5 in conference play. The Johnnies last beat a ranked team on the road on January 17, 2002 (Boston College). The Red Storm finish the season with a last road game at Seton Hall, then return to the Carnesecca Arena on campus to play South Florida. Villanova's record drops to 21-8 overall and 9-7 in conference play. The Wildcats close out the season on the road. First stop is South Bend and a game against Notre Dame. The 'Cats then close the book on their 2011 series with Pittsburgh by taking on the Panthers at the Pete next Saturday.

No comments: