A Shooting Duel Between D’Angelo Harrison and Ryan Arcidiacono Disguised as a Big East Opener

Posted by CNguon on January 3rd, 2013

Joe Dzuback is an RTC correspondent who maintains the blog Villanova by the Numbers and tweets at @vbtnblog. He filed this report after Villanova’s opening Big East Conference game at the Pavilion on Wednesday night.

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A very young St. John’s (9-4, 0-1) team took an inexperienced Villanova (10-4, 1-0) squad to overtime before falling 98-86 in overtime at the Pavilion on Villanova’s campus Wednesday night. Having committed the foul on D’Angelo Harrison that allowed the Red Storm sophomore to sink the two free throws that tied the game at 83 and sent it into overtime, Villanova sophomore Darrun Hilliard made amends.

Arcidiacono’s crossover so frustrated St. John’s Jamal Branch (#00 in red) that the Texas A&M transfer threw a high elbow near the end of the first half, and drew a flagrant #1. Arcidiacono went to the line for two and the ball. The Wildcats scored twice more at the line in their possession, creating a four point swing (RTC staff)

Arcidiacono’s crossover so frustrated St. John’s Jamal Branch (0) that the Texas A&M transfer threw a high elbow near the end of the first half that drew a flagrant (RTC staff)

Two minutes into the overtime period, with the score still knotted at 83 and both teams misfiring from the field, the 6’6” wing sank two free throws, then picked Red Storm guard Harrison’s pocket and scored a layup to secure an 87-83 lead that the Wildcats would not relinquish. The Big East opening game for both squads became a showcase for two outstanding individual performances. St. John’s Harrison scored 36 points on 11-of-21 (6-of-12 three-pointers) shooting from the field and 8-of-11 from the line while Villanova’s freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono countered with 32 points on 7-of-15 (7-of-13 from beyond the arc) shooting from the field and 11-13 from the line. “Harrison [D'Angelo Harrison] was incredible, he scores 36 points,” lamented Villanova coach Jay Wright in Villanova’s postgame press conference. “About three minutes of 45 minutes we did a really good job on him, but the rest of the game he was just too much.”

Named the Big East Rookie of the Week on December 31 for the second time this season, Arcidiacono connected on four of his six first half three-point attempts while splitting the point guard duties with Wake Forest transfer Tony Chennault. The freshman took 13 free throw attempts (seven in the first half alone), connecting on 11 of them. Both teams struggled to create a rhythm as officials whistled a total of 50 personal fouls, including a flagrant-one issued in the waning moments of the first half. Four Red Storm players (JaKarr Sampson, Jamal Branch, Sir’Dominic Pointer and Amir Garrett) were eventually forced to sit, along with Darrun Hilliard of Villanova. “I think (the game was) a really good learning experience as painful as it is to lose in overtime in a game where we had an opportunity to win, but I think there were some real positives,” noted St. John’s coach Steve Lavin later. “We are the youngest team in Division I,” Lavin said several times, citing Branch’s foul at the end of the first half that gave Villanova free throws and the ball in the last 90 seconds and Amir Garrett’s foul on Hilliard’s three-point attempt with 1:31 left in regulation that allowed the Villanova wing to tie the game at the line as examples of youthful mistakes. “When we get back to the gym we will teach him (Garrett) how to keep his feet on the ground and get his hands in the shooter’s face.”

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