AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Donte DiVincenzo had 25 points, Kris Jenkins added 24 and No. 2 Villanova cruised past St. John’s 108-67 on Thursday in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden.
The Wildcats, who had six players score in double figures, set team tournament records for points scored and margin of victory.
DiVincenzo, a redshirt freshman who finished 7 of 8 from the field, including 5 of 6 on 3s, surpassed his previous career high of 20 points, also set against St. John’s, which suffered its worst loss ever in the tournament.
The Wildcats (29-3) will face the winner of the Marquette-Seton Hall game in the semifinals on Friday.
The Wildcats took command with an almost perfect first half and led 52-26 at halftime.
Villanova shot 51.5 percent (17 of 33) in the first half, including 9 of 20 from 3-point range. The Wildcats committed just three turnovers, held St. John’s scoreless for a 6-minute stretch and outrebounded the Red Storm 21-13. Jenkins hit a long 3 at the halftime buzzer. To top things off, Villanova was not called for a personal foul in the first 20 minutes.
Bashir Ahmed and Marcus LoVett both scored 12 points for the Red Storm (14-19), who beat Georgetown 74-73 in the opening round to snap a six-year losing streak in the Big East Tournament. St. John’s had twice lost by 29 points in the tournament.
Villanova improved its shooting in the second half to 79.2 percent (19 of 24), including 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
St. John’s: The Red Storm again followed the pattern of struggling early from 3-point range. They were 2 of 8 from beyond the arc in the first half. … Darien Williams was called for a Flagrant 1 foul against Darryl Reynolds in the first half.
Villanova: Mikal Bridges started for the Wildcats but played just one minute because of a stomach virus. … Villanova swept the season series with St. John’s by an average of 18 points. … The Wildcats finished with seven personal fouls. … Villanova’s previous high for points was 96 in a double-overtime win over Pittsburgh in 1998 and the previous margin of victory was 35 against Marquette in 2015.
Villanova will face the Seton Hall-Marquette winner in Friday’s semifinals.
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