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Winning controversially: St. John's advances in Big East Tournament with 65-63 win over Rutgers

St. John's rode a controversial end to move into the next round of the Big East Tournament, defeating Rutgers 65-63 in a game filled with poor shooting.

But the game will be marked by its controversial ending.

Now, with 1.7 seconds left, it's not that the Rutgers Scarlet Knights would have pulled out the win against St. John's.  The Knights had their chance, after an inbounds pass bounced off of Dwight Hardy's face under the Rutgers basket, giving them the ball with time on the clock. 

Mike Coburn got into the lane and missed a shot (and perhaps was fouled by D.J. Kennedy, but I understand the refs swallowing their whistles on that one.

But after an inbounds pass was deflected from Gilvydas Biruta, and the ball ended up in an over-jubliant Justin Brownlee's hands...

This happened - video of the end after the jump.

You hear that whistling? That's me.


Justin Brownlee has to NOT toss the ball in the air with seconds left. Also, the walk. Also, stay in bounds. Yeesh.

St. John's let the Scarlet Knights stay too close. Let? The Knights defense was tough, they held on to the basketball, and they got numerous offensive rebounds tip-in points. Bad defense in the paint late in the game by St. John's and Dwight Hardy (5-17 from the field, 17 points) couldn't get untracked against the Rutgers D.

Still, it's a win, and St. John's faces Syracuse tomorrow at 2-2.30. James Beatty's (15 points) hot perimeter shooting at the beginning of the second half helped bring Rutgers closer; but Gil Biruta's offensive rebounding and post presence, coupled with excellent team defense, got Rutgers within "WORST ERROR BY THE REFS" distance. That was not a particularly well officiated game by Tim Higgins, Jim Burr, and the other guy the whole game long. I'm pretty sure some balls were called as off of St. John's which were clearly off of Rutgers. But for there to be such a firestorm about officiating requires a close game, and St. John's certainly got that.

Matt Norlander has a postgame interview with Lavin: