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College basketball roundup

St. John’s gets help, escapes

Missed calls give Red Storm boost

St. John’s Dwight Hardy drives past Rutgers’ Gilvydas Biruti to score 2 of his 17 points in the Red Storm’s second-round win. St. John’s Dwight Hardy drives past Rutgers’ Gilvydas Biruti to score 2 of his 17 points in the Red Storm’s second-round win. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
Associated Press / March 10, 2011

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Madison Square Garden has been a special court for St. John’s in its return to national prominence.

The latest win there for the Red Storm — 65-63 over Rutgers in the second round of the Big East tournament yesterday — was achieving legendary status within minutes of the game ending. But it was officiating mistakes, not great plays by St. John’s, that made it memorable.

A wild last minute that had two lead changes, two turnovers that were called, the two that weren’t, and two missed free throws finished with Justin Brownlee of St. John’s taking a couple of extra steps, stepping out of bounds, and throwing the ball into the stands while the final 1.7 seconds ticked off.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto issued a statement about 40 minutes after the game ended admitting there were two errors made by the veteran officiating crew of Jim Burr, Tim Higgins, and Earl Walton.

“The Big East Conference acknowledges that two separate officiating errors occurred at the conclusion of the St. John’s vs. Rutgers game,’’ he said, referring to the travel and stepping out of bounds. “Both missed violations should have caused the game clock to stop and a change of possession to occur prior to the end of the game. Neither error is reviewable or correctable under NCAA rules.’’

Trailing, 65-63, with 4.9 seconds left, Rutgers still had one chance but a long pass just inside midcourt was knocked away. Brownlee picked up the loose ball, appeared to take a couple of steps, then stepped out of bounds before throwing the ball into the stands with time still on the clock.

Dwight Hardy finished with 17 points and the Red Storm (21-10) improved to 8-1 on the Garden court this season.

UConn 79, Georgetown 62 — Kemba Walker scored 28 points in another stellar performance, and the No. 21 Huskies advanced with an easy second-round victory over the No. 22 Hoyas.

Now the Huskies (23-9), who had fallen all the way to the ninth seed in the conference tournament, get top-seeded Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals.

Georgetown (21-10) still has not won since losing guard Chris Wright to a broken left hand.

Marquette 67, W. Virginia 61 — Darius Johnson-Odom scored 11 points, including two big 3-pointers in the final minutes, and the Golden Eagles upset the No. 20 Mountaineers.

Marquette (20-13) was considered the last of the 11 Big East teams that could get a bid into the NCAA Tournament. It seems the wins over Providence and West Virginia have made that an almost certainty. Kevin Jones had 15 points for the Mountaineers (20-11).

Cincinnati 87, South Florida 61 — Yancy Gates was nearly perfect from the field, scoring a career-high 25 points and leading the 25th-ranked Bearcats (25-7) to the rout of the Bulls (10-23).

Big 12 first round — Marcus Denmon scored 20 points, leading Missouri (23-9) past Texas Tech, 88-84, in Kansas City, Mo., bringing an end to Pat Knight’s time as coach of the Red Raiders. Knight was fired Monday, effective whenever Tech (13-19) was eliminated from the conference tournament . . . Cade Davis scored 24 points and Oklahoma (14-17) hit nine 3-pointers en route to an 84-67 victory over shorthanded Baylor (18-13). A few hours before tipoff, Baylor’s standout freshman Perry Jones was declared ineligible by the NCAA . . . Alec Burks scored 25 of his 29 points in the second half to help Colorado (20-12) slip past Iowa State, 77-75 . . . Keiton Page scored 16 points and Oklahoma State (19-12) held on for a 53-52 win over Nebraska (19-12).

Pac-10 first round — Jared Cunningham scored 24 points and Oregon State (11-19) took a 69-67 win over Stanford (15-16), ending a five-year skid in the tournament.

Northeast final — Jamal Olasewere scored 7 of his 31 points in overtime and Long Island University (27-5) earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in 14 years with an 85-82 overtime victory over Robert Morris (18-14) in New York.

Big Sky final — In Greeley, Colo., Devon Beitzel scored 13 of his 27 points over the final five minutes, helping top-seeded Northern Colorado (21-10) earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history with a 65-60 win over Montana (21-10).

Women Big 12 quarterfinals — Destiny Williams scored a career-high 21 points to lead third-ranked Baylor (29-2) to an 86-51 victory over Kansas in Kansas City, Mo. The Jayhawks (20-12) were led by Monica Engleman, who had 16 points . . . Danielle Adams scored 23 points as No. 8 Texas A&M (27-4) cruised to a 77-50 rout of Texas (19-13).