St. Joseph's, which took Kentucky to overtime, beat No. 18 Villanova by 13 on Wednesday

On3 imageby:Zack Geoghegan11/30/23


10 days ago, Kentucky had to sweat out a win over unranked Saint Joseph’s, needing overtime to pull out the 96-88 victory. At the time, it felt like a worrisome outcome for the Wildcats. But after what happened on Wednesday night, that win is now looking pretty good on Kentucky’s resume.

Fueled by 24 points from Erik Reynolds II, who dropped 28 on Kentucky, St. Joe’s (5-2) went to No. 18 Villanova (6-2) and took the Wildcats to the woodshed, winning by a final score of 78-65. The Hawks led by eight at the halftime break and cruised to the dub in the second half. Villanova got as close as seven points with roughly eight minutes left, but St. Joe’s never let its lead get any lower than that.

The win for St. Joe’s was even more impressive when you consider some of the outside factors. Villanova broke back into the Top 25 this week after beating three quality opponents during a three-day stretch at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. Nova beat Texas Tech (85-69), No. 17 North Carolina (83-81 OT), and Memphis (79-63) in back-to-back-to-back outings last week. St. Joe’s had even lost 11 straight to Villanova.

But the Hawks had their number on Wednesday night. St. Joe’s shot nearly 57 percent from the field and went 14-27 (51.9 percent) from beyond the arc while Villanova was held to 39.3 percent overall shooting and a 10-37 (27.0 percent) clip from distance. Kentucky saw first-hand how good a red-hot St. Joe’s team can be and now Villanova knows it too. If you remember, the Hawks shot 15-37 (40.5 percent) from long range against UK on Nov. 20. They were one missed free throw away near the end of regulation from pulling off the upset.

Luckily for Kentucky, that’s not how it played out. And now a win that once looked like a “bad” one has since turned into a quality one. St. Joe’s was ranked No. 121 in KenPom at the time. They’re now ranked No. 83 after beating Villanova.

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