for this game

Cunningham helps Villanova set school record

Jan 18, 2009 - 9:40 PM VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Villanova's 24th straight win at the Pavilion may have been one of the easiest.

Dante Cunningham scored 17 points and Dwayne Anderson added 14 as the 22nd-ranked Wildcats cruised to a 76-57 victory over St. John's on Sunday.

Corey Fisher scored 13 points and Antonio Pena added 12 for Villanova (14-3, 2-2 Big East), which set a new school record for consecutive wins here. The Wildcats have not lost at the Pavilion in over a year.

"Right now what I like is that we played hard and competed for most of the game," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We have had lapses where maybe we shot free throws well and maybe didn't foul as much.

"We may have been trying to play too perfectly. Today I thought we came out and played Villanova basketball. That's what I feel good about."

Villanova hadn't played since January 10 but showed no signs of rust, opening the contest on a 19-3 run.

"We were all dying to play a game," Wright said. "We really talked to the seniors that we wanted them to get the guys ready - not our coaching staff. I thought we were ready."

Villanova shot 58 percent (17-of-29) in the first half, but also had a helping hand from St. John's. The Red Storm missed six of their first seven shots and turned the ball over six times in the first six minutes. The Wildcats led, 44-27, at halftime.

St. John's (10-7, 1-4) had more turnovers (11) than field goals (nine) after 20 minutes.

The Red Storm opened the second half on a 7-0 run to pull within 44-34 less than 90 seconds into the second stanza, but it was too much of an uphill battle. The Wildcats answered with a 13-6 spurt, and the Red Storm trailed by double digits the rest of the way.

"I give Villanova a lot of credit," St. John's coach Norm Roberts said. "They've got a good team and they play very well at home.

"They did a good job of pressing us out of what we wanted to do. We turned it over way too much and we let them get off to way too good a start. They got off to such a good start that it's hard to come back from that."

Scottie Reynolds had nine points for Villanova, which hit 10 straight shots at one point during the second half.

D.J. Kennedy had 18 points for St. John's, which has lost six of seven.