The St. John’s Red Storm outlasted the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 65-63 to advance in the Big East Tournament. The ending of the game was, honestly, horribly officiated. Rutgers, down two points with four seconds left, turned the ball over to St. John’s’ Justin Brownlee, who appeared to run the ball downcourt and prematurely celebrate, stepping out of bounds and whipping the ball into the crowd with 1.6 seconds left on the clock. But the officials didn’t notice, anticipating the time running out, and let it slip. St. John’s goes home with a win and has a date with the Syracuse Orange tomorrow.
Rutgers made a furious comeback in the second half, and appeared at one point as though they might pull off the upset. Mike Coburn converted a three-point play to put Rutgers up by one, but St. John’s answered with four free throws. Coburn then knocked down two freebies of his own before St John’s gave the ball back to Rutgers when Dwight Hardy lost the ball out of bounds on the ensuing inbound.
On the next possession, Coburn drove and appeared to be fouled by D.J. Kennedy, but it was not called, and St. John’s got the ball back, before the game ended in controversy.
St. John’s was led by Dwight Hardy, who scored 17 points but was erratic, making just five of his 17 shot attempts. Sean Evans gave the Johnnies 13 points in 26 minutes off the bench. Rutgers’ leading scorer Jonathan Mitchell scored just eight points, while guard James Beatty led the way with 15. Rutgers’ season comes to an unfortunate end, while St. John’s will try to avenge their only loss of the year at the Garden against the Orange tomorrow.