St. John’s gets easy win over Villanova

Joel Soriano totaled 21 points and nine rebounds and St. John’s pulled away down the stretch for a 70-50 victory over visiting Villanova on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Red Storm (13-7, 5-4 Big East) stopped a three-game losing streak and swept the season series from Villanova for the first time since 1992-93 — the season after legendary coach Lou Carnesecca retired. St. John’s led most of the way and outscored Villanova 25-11 over the final 10 minutes.

Soriano scored 15 points in the second half, made 8 of 9 shots in 30 minutes overall and scored 41 points in St. John’s two wins over Villanova this season. The center helped St. John’s to a 42-23 rebounding margin, which included 15 offensive boards by the Red Storm.

Jordan Dingle added 12 after missing the losses to Marquette and Seton Hall due to an illness as St. John’s shot 46.7 percent. Soriano and Dingle were the only double-figure scorers for the Red Storm, who notched their most lopsided conference win under first-year coach Rick Pitino.

Eric Dixon led Villanova (11-8, 4-4) with 16 points and T.J. Bamba added 12. Dixon and Bamba were a combined 10 of 17 from the field but the Wildcats shot 37.5 percent overall, were a dreadful 4 of 25 from 3-point range and lost their third straight while getting held to a season low in points.

St John’s scored eight straight points in 62 seconds to take a 21-11 lead on a 3 by Drissa Traore with 10:01 remaining and then capped a 15-2 run when Soriano’s jumper made it 28-13 with 6:42 left. After Villanova scored seven straight points, consecutive hoops by Simeon Wilcher helped give St. John’s a 32-22 lead at halftime.

Consecutive layups by Dixon and Hakim Hart moved Villanova within 40-35 at the 12:46 mark. Another basket by Dixon made it 42-37 with 10:42 left but Soriano’s three-point play and Jordan Dingle’s layup put St. John’s ahead 52-39 with 7:43 remaining.

The Red Storm finished it off with about three minutes left when consecutive baskets by Dingle made it 61-42.