Orlando Sanchez out vs. Nova

PHILADELPHIA -- St. John's forward Orlando Sanchez will miss Saturday's game at No. 9 Villanova due to the birth of his daughter.

Sanchez's wife, Flor Esthefani Sanchez, gave birth to 6-pound, 7-ounce Ysabel Angela on Friday at 9:55 a.m. in Providence.

"My family and I would like to thank God for giving us this treasure," Sanchez said in a statement released by the school. "I will be back with my brothers soon to help our team accomplish our goals of finishing the year strong and making the postseason."

Added St. John's coach Steve Lavin: "Our St. John's basketball family congratulates Orlando and Flor on bringing newborn baby girl Ysabel Angela Sanchez into the world."

Starting center Chris Obekpa will play Saturday after suffering a sprained right ankle and a bone bruise in practice.

"I'm a warrior," Obekpa said.

Obekpa originally was ruled out for 10 to 14 days and missed Tuesday night's win over Butler, but his ankle is healing quickly. The team doctor cleared Obekpa to practice on Friday, but Lavin elected to be cautious, just having him do some light running and post-up work on the side.

St. John's (18-9, 8-6 Big East) has won six games in a row, and nine of its past 10, after an 0-5 start in conference play. Obekpa has been a big part of the team's resurgence. He scored in double figures in four of his last six games, and is currently 11th in the country in blocks per game (3.2).

Sanchez also has been an important contributor. He is averaging 7.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and is the team's second-leading rebounder despite coming off the bench of late.