Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Darrun Hilliard totaled 18 points thanks to four shots from beyond the arc, and No. 9 Villanova hung on to top St. John's, 57-54, on Saturday afternoon.
Ryan Arcidiacono contributed 12 points, while JayVaughn Pinkston pulled down 11 rebounds for the Wildcats (24-3, 12-2 Big East), winners in eight of their last nine.
D'Angelo Harrison posted 15 points and JaKarr Sampson added 12 with 10 boards for the Red Storm (18-10, 8-7), whose six-game win streak was halted.
Arcidiacono banked in a 3-point shot to snap a 50-50 tie with 3:44 remaining.
"Coach (Jay) Wright had a play designed for us to hold the ball until a certain time on the shot clock," Arcidiacono said. "Then Daniel and I got into a ball screen and his man switched up and I told him to go down to the block. I think the shot clock was at six seconds and I thought I could get a rhythm three but he contested it so I had to put some extra air under it and it was good. That was all luck."
Down 55-53, a traveling call against Phil Greene in the lane with 14.1 seconds to play prevented the Red Storm from producing a tying basket.
Greene then fouled Arcidiacono with 11.4 to go, and the usually sure-handed shooter missed his first try and hit the second, for a 56-53 'Nova edge.
Harrison briefly had an open look from beyond the arc on the left wing, but his try was blocked by James Bell as 3.2 showed on the clock.
He got the ball back underneath the basket and was harmed on a reverse layup, making the first free shot and intentionally missing the second. A lane violation on Rysheed Jordan turned the ball over to the Wildcats.
Josh Hart missed his first free throw but hit the second to once again make it a three-point margin, then heave from three-quarter court fell well short at the buzzer.
"The entire team competed and continued to counter punch. We didn't go quietly into the night and we had our opportunities but didn't put the ball in the basket frequently enough," St. John's coach Steve Lavin said.
Hilliard hit two from long range and Villanova scored the game's first eight points, but St. John's recovered to eventually take a 21-20 edge thanks to a Jordan jumper with 5:27 left in the half.
The Red Storm were behind 28-27 at intermission, then managed to assume a 30-28 edge on a Jordan bucket less than a minute in. It was the last time the visitors held the lead.
A quick 10-2 surge, capped by a triple from hart, supplied Villanova with a 38-32 advantage. Bell connected from long range and the lead was 44-38, with 11:15 to play. Though St. John's rallied twice to tie, it could not push through.