PHILADELPHIA -- Top-ranked Villanova had a reason to be wary against St. John's, because the Red Storm were coming off an upset of No. 4 Duke and had been playing better than their 0-11 record in the Big East would indicate.
The Red Storm packed up all their momentum from the Duke victory on Saturday and delivered another shocker on Wednesday night, knocking off the Wildcats, 79-75, before a stunned crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.
Villanova (22-2, 9-2 Big East), which saw a nine-game winning streak snapped, trailed by nine with 2 minutes, 38 seconds to play after a runner by Shamorie Ponds, who led the visitors with 26 points.
But Jalen Brunson, who had an off-night shooting the ball, brought them back into the game with eight straight points, including a three-point play that cut the deficit to 67-66 with 1:25 to play.
After the Red Storm (12-13, 1-11) built their advantage back to five, 73-68, on two free throws by Justin Simon with 46 seconds to play, Brunson answered with two free throws. Tariq Owens hit one of two for St. John's, but Collin Gillespie hit a 3-pointer on a second-chance opportunity to pull 'Nova to within one with 23.2 seconds to play.
After Ponds hit one of two free throws, the Wildcats went for the go-ahead three but Omari Spellman missed from the left wing. Clark and Ponds each sealed the upset with a pair of free throws.
Brunson finished with 28 points for Villanova, 14 of them coming in the final 2:24. Villanova made just 8 of 33 3-point baskets, including 2 of 18 in the second half.
The win broke a 54-game home winning streak that the Wildcats had built over unranked opponents.
The Cats overcame a 39-34 halftime deficit with a 7-2 run at the start of the second half, but then managed just one basket on their next nine possessions as the Red Storm ran out to a 50-43 lead on Ponds' 3-point basket with 13 minutes to play.
Back-to-back baskets by Simon restored the Red Storm's 7-point lead, 57-50, with 7:40 remaining. Meanwhile, the Wildcats were struggling, making just 4 of 16 shots over a stretch of more than 11 minutes while scoring nine points.
Simon would eventually extend his streak of St. John's points to seven, and a three-point play by Ponds with 5:37 remaining extended the visitors' lead to nine, 63-54.
The Wildcats trailed at the half for only the fourth time this season as St. John's pressed up on their 3-point shooters and hustled to double team.
The Red Storm shot 55.6 percent from the field and held the advantage, 39-34, thanks in no small part to 15 points from Ponds, who connected on 5 of 10 attempts from the field.
Villanova didn't take its first lead in the game until Mikal Bridges' jumper from the foul line gave his team a 21-20 lead. The lead changed hands twice after that with Brunson's 3-point basket putting the Wildcats back in front 29-28 but Bryan Trimble answered with his own trey as St. John's regained the lead.
Ponds scored six of the Red Storm's final eight points on a scoop, a tip-in, and a stepback 15-footer from the baseline. Simon broke the Villanova press to score on the half's last possession, and the visitors led by five.
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