No. 3 Villanova Upset by Posh Alexander, Unranked St. John's

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2021

Villanova's Cole Swider (10) protects the ball from St. John's Julian Champagnie and Vince Cole (15) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Villanova's nine-game winning streak is over.

The No. 3 Wildcats were upset by St. John's on Wednesday night, 70-59, which was their first loss since Nov. 28. Villanova struggled immensely with the Red Storm's relentless full-court press, turning the ball over a season-high 17 times. 

CBS Sports Network @CBSSportsNet

OH MY GOODNESS. AN ABSOLUTE THROW DOWN!!!!! @StJohnsBBall | @BIGEASTMBB https://t.co/nfmy9Ii63p

CBS Sports Network @CBSSportsNet

It's only a matter of time until Julian Champagnie gets going and it seems that time is now! @StJohnsBBall | @BIGEASTMBB https://t.co/WSQEeq9U22

CBS Sports Network @CBSSportsNet

Learn the name. Posh Alexander. @StJohnsBBall is making all the plays as they open up the lead over No. 3 Villanova. https://t.co/56HbQ2n8SI

St. John's was just as good in the half court, holding the always-dangerous Wildcats to 26.7 percent shooting (8-of-30) from three. And the offense did its part despite leading scorer Julian Champagnie (19.8 PPG) having an off night.

The Red Storm are pretty hot at the moment, having now won five straight games. In the deep Big East, they are emerging as a legitimate threat. 


Key Stats

Posh Alexander, SJ: 16 points, six assists

Julian Champagnie, SJ: 14 points (4-of-12 from the field), 13 rebounds

Vince Cole, SJ: 12 points

Collin Gillespie, NOVA: 4 points, 6 assists, 6 turnovers

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, NOVA: 14 points, 17 rebounds

Caleb Daniels, NOVA: 16 points


Alexander Continues His Excellent Freshman Season

Alexander's on-ball defense and offensive performance was too much for a talented Villanova side Wednesday. That should have come as no surprise considering Alexander has already been named the Big East Freshman of the Week three times this season. 

Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello

Posh Alexander is just tormenting Villanova at both ends of the floor.

John Fanta @John_Fanta

Posh Alexander continues to play like the best freshman in the Big East.

He's been awesome in the team's winning streak, finishing five straight games with at least 15 points. 

Before the game, Villanova head coach Jay Wright had nothing but praise for Alexander, saying he was the type of player who puts fear into a coach because he can take an opponent's point guard out of the game:

Jon Rothstein @JonRothstein

Posh Alexander has quickly become the face of St. John's program. What are Jay Wright's thoughts on the talented freshman point guard ahead of Wednesday's matchup at Carnesecca Arena? His breakdown from yesterday on STUFFED: https://t.co/9gQ3G53ubb

That proved prescient. Alexander was a standout Wednesday. 


Villanova Needed More From Gillespie

Gillespie came into Wednesday night averaging 15.5 points and 4.7 assists this season. He didn't have anywhere near that impact against St. John's. 

Whether he just had an off night or the Red Storm's defense was that good—it probably was a combination of the two—Villanova won't win often when its senior point guard struggles to the degree he did against St. John's. 

Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello

St. John’s has Villanova all out of sorts on the offensive end. Settling for shots, errant passes, just had a 10-second violation. Also getting beat down the court in transition. Red Storm rolling right now.

Dana O'Neil😷 @DanaONeilWriter

Villanova looked like plodding and messy tonight. Maybe the layoff. Maybe bad night. Just off

The Wildcats are loaded with talent, but they largely laid an egg against St. John's. Senior leaders like Gillespie are typically the guys who snap teams out of funks, but he wasn't able to do so Wednesday. 


What's Next? 

Villanova will look to lick its wounds vs. Georgetown on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET. St. John's is back in action at Providence on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.