Nova routs men’s basketball

Known as “The World’s Most Famous Arena” to most people, St. John’s may start calling it “Personal House of Horrors.”

The Red Storm dropped its fourth consecutive game at the Garden Saturday, falling to Villanova in a 60-42 laugher.

“We came out, tried to play hard with energy, missed shots and became very young,” said St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts. “I think we got frustrated when we missed some shots.”

St. John’s made just five field goals in the first half on 20 percent shooting, posting 13 points for its lowest first half point total of the season.

“We weren’t hitting shots,” said Malik Boothe. “Sometimes that’s just the way things go.”

Through the first four minutes of the game St. John’s was solid defensively, holding Villanova to just four points. But Villanova went on an 11-0 run in a four minute span to push the score to 16-2, and the Wildcats never looked back.

“[Our efforts] just starting to click a little bit,” said Villanova coach Jay Wright. “We’ve played much smarter defensively in the last few games.”

At halftime Villanova had extended its lead to 18 with the score at 31-13.

“I think any game that you come out having 13 [points] in the first half you have to pick it up [in the next game],” said Anthony Mason, Jr. “You just gotta pick it up and play harder.”

The Red Storm didn’t fare much better in the second half, as it shot 30 percent from the field, making eight field goals. St. John’s shooting from behind the arc was also suspect, going 3-21 for the game.
Villanova was strong in the paint, bringing down 42 rebounds to St. John’s 33 and outscoring the Red Storm 28-14 down-low.
“We rebounded pretty well,” Wright said, “and that’s something we haven’t done [well] all year.”

Roberts drastically changed his lineups in the second half, as D.J. Kennedy, Dele Coker, and Tomas Jasiulionis didn’t see any minutes after the first half ended. Sean Evans, who was on the floor for seven minutes in the first half, saw jus two minutes of playing time in
the second.

Roberts used Mike Cavataio heavily, as the freshman forward recorded a career-high 23 minutes of playing time, 17 coming in the second half.

“It was great to play out there and try to give my team a spark off the bench,” Cavataio said.

Cavataio made the most of his time on the floor, recording eight points, seven rebounds and one block while shooting 33 percent from the floor.

Upon his departure from the game in the second half Cavataio received an ovation from the crowd and chants of his name, and received the same treatment three minutes later when he checked back into the game.

With the loss St. John’s conference record dropped to 4-9, and it now will have a tough task ahead of it if it wishes to make the Big East Tournament. The Red Storm will be at home tonight against Marquette before heading out on the road to Duke and Georgetown.

“We don’t have time to [be freshmen],” Roberts said.