Big East Tournament 2012, St. John's Vs. Pittsburgh Final Score: Panthers Coast, 73-59

Despite freshman guard Moe Harkless netting a game-high 25 points, the St. John's Red Storm fell the to Pittsburgh Panthers 73-59 in the first round of the 2012 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. The loss ends the No. 12-seeded Red Storm's season ends with an overall record of 13-19.

No. 13 Pittsburgh (16-15) kept its possible NCAA Tournament miracle run alive, as it advances to play the No. 5 Georgetown Hoyas Wednesday at 2 p.m. on ESPN. Earlier in the year, the Panthers defeated the Hoyas 72-60 Jan. 28.

Senior guard Ashton Gibbs paced Pitt in scoring with 20 points, while senior forward Nasir Robinson tallied 12 points and seven rebounds. The Panthers shot 45 percent from the floor, while the Red Storm made 33 percent.

Meanwhile, St. John's ends the year with high hopes for next season, as head coach Steve Lavin told ESPN during Tuesday's afternoon broadcast that he will return to the program after fully recovering from prostate cancer surgery.

Lavin also said the Johnnies should bring in another top-tier recruiting class, which will go well with Harkless, the favorite to win the Big East Rookie of the Year award, and freshman guard D'Angelo Harrison, who earned a spot on the All-Big East Rookie Team.

Tuesday, Harrison finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Harkless added nine.

The only player not returning next year for St. John's is senior guard Malik Stith, who averaged 2.7 points in 14.6 minutes of playing time per game.

— For complete coverage of the Big East Tournament, check back to this SB Nation New York StoryStream. For more on the Big East Conference, visit the SB Nation blog Big East Coast Bias.

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