Junior guard Ashton Gibbs has scored a game-best 15 points for the No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers, who lead the St. John's Red Storm, 27-26, at halftime of a Big East Conference game at Madison Square Garden. Gibbs netted Pitt's last seven points of the first half, which included four free throw that stemmed from Red Storm technical fouls. Senior forward Justin Burrell has a team-best eight points for the Johnnies (16-9, 8-5 Big East).
St. John's, which led by as much as nine points, made its first eight of 11 shots to take a 19-12 advantage with 7:43 to play in the half. The Red Storm led 26-23 with 1:23 to go, but head coach Steve Lavin and senior guard D.J. Kennedy were each called for technical fouls less than a minute apart. Pitt (24-2, 12-1) used a 3-pointer and four FTs from Gibbs to take a slim one-point margin into the locker room.
Statistically, St. John's finished 9 for 19 (47.4 percent) from the floor and 2 for 3 from 3-point land. Pitt is 9-of-23 (39.1) on field goals and just 3-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc. St. John's leads in the rebound category, 17-12, but have committed 10 turnovers to Pitt's eight.
St. John's senior point guard Dwight Hardy has just six points after averaging 27.8 point in the last four games.