College basketball: Surging St. John’s tops ice-cold No. 3 Villanova

St. John's Posh Alexander knocks the ball away from Villanova's Collin Gillespie.
St. John’s Posh Alexander (0) knocks the ball away from Villanova’s Collin Gillespie (2) during the second half on Wednesday in New York.
(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Posh Alexander scored 16 points and St. John’s smothered No. 3 Villanova, upsetting the ice-cold Wildcats 70-59 on Wednesday night to halt their nine-game winning streak.

Julian Champagnie had 14 points — all in the second half — and a career-high 13 rebounds for the suddenly surging Red Storm (12-7, 6-6 Big East), who have won five straight games and six of seven.

With active hands all over the court, St. John’s turned up its pressure defense and forced the experienced Wildcats (11-2, 6-1) into 17 turnovers and 32% shooting in an ugly performance. Villanova fell behind 58-41 with about 6:45 left and was held 12 points below its previous season low for its first loss since Nov. 28 to Virginia Tech in overtime.


Caleb Daniels scored 16 points for Villanova, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 14.

East Carolina 82, No. 5 Houston 73

Jayden Gardner had 21 points and 15 rebounds to help East Carolina stun Houston, securing the Pirates’ first win against a ranked opponent in nearly two decades.

Tremont Robinson-White added 17 points for East Carolina, which defied season-long offensive struggles against one of the nation’s top defensive teams. East Carolina shot 47% and made 11 of 24 3-pointers. The Pirates led for the last 12-plus minutes against a Houston team that struggled to make much of anything after halftime.

East Carolina (8-6, 2-6 American Athletic Conference) hadn’t won a game in more than a month between five straight losses and three postponements.

DeJon Jarreau matched his career high with 25 points to lead the Cougars (15-2, 10-2), who had won nine straight meetings dating to 2015, including wins by double-digit margins on ECU’s home floor in each of the past four seasons. But top scorer Quentin Grimes struggled to just seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.

No. 10 Alabama 78, LSU 60

Jaden Shackelford scored 19 points and Alabama beat LSU to widen its lead in the Southeastern Conference standings.

After setting a league record with 23 made 3-pointers in their previous matchup on Jan. 19, Alabama (15-4, 10-0 SEC) showed it has multiple ways to win, this time by holding LSU (11-5, 6-4) to its lowest scoring output of the season.


Cameron Thomas scored 22 points for LSU.

No. 14 Virginia 64, North Carolina State 57

Sam Hauser and Trey Murphy III each scored 18 points and Virginia produced a strong finishing stretch to beat North Carolina State.

Jay Huff added 12 points for the Cavaliers (12-3, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had their 15-game ACC winning streak stretching to last season halted Saturday night at then-No. 20 Virginia Tech.

Jericole Hellems poured in 23 points before fouling out for N.C. State (7-7, 3-6), which won just one game in January.

Georgetown 86, No. 15 Creighton 79

Jahvon Blair scored 22 points to lead four Georgetown players in double figures, and the Hoyas used their best shooting in weeks to build a big lead and beat Creighton.

Georgetown (5-8, 3-5 Big East), a 13-point underdog, won its second straight after a three-week layoff because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Blair made five 3-pointers. Chudier Bile had 15 of his 17 points in the second half and Jamorko Pickett had four 3s and finished with 16 points.


Denzel Mahoney led the Bluejays (13-5, 9-4) with 20 points. Mitch Ballock added 16 points.

Pittsburgh 83, No. 16 Virginia Tech 72

Xavier Johnson scored a career-high 32 points and Pittsburgh beat Virginia Tech to end a three-game skid.

Johnson had been slumping and was held out of Pitt’s starting lineup for the first time this season. He shot 11 of 17 from the floor, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range, as the Panthers (9-5, 5-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) had their way against a usually stingy Virginia Tech defense.

Pittsburgh beat a ranked opponent for the first time since January 2019.

Keve Aluma scored 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 4 of 6 from long range, for the Hokies (13-4, 7-3), who were coming off a win over then-No. 8 Virginia. Justyn Mutts added 17 points.

No. 18 Missouri 75, Kentucky 70

Dru Smith scored a season-high 26 points, Xavier Pinson added 14 and Missouri withstood a second-half charge to beat Kentucky.

Smith also had seven rebounds and five assists to go along with 6-for-11 shooting. The senior also went 12 of 14 from the free-throw line to help the Tigers (12-3, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) hold on.

Davion Mintz led Kentucky (5-11, 4-5) with 18 points and made four 3s. Keion Brooks Jr. and Brandon Boston Jr. tallied 10 apiece.


South Carolina 72, No. 22 Florida 66

AJ Lawson scored 22 points, Seventh Woods added 12 and South Carolina beat Florida.

Keyshawn Bryant added eight points for the Gamecocks, including six in a decisive 13-1 run over the final 6:37 to close the game. That spurt turned a six-point deficit into an unlikely road victory.

South Carolina (5-6, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) dominated the Gators (10-5, 6-4) inside, outscoring them 50-30 in the paint and getting 13 offensive rebounds.

Tre Mann had 17 points and eight rebounds for Florida, which was playing its first game as a ranked team in more than 14 months.