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 on Wednesday — was achieving legendary status within minutes of the game ending.
It wasn't great plays by St. John's that will make this a memorable game. Rather it was two turnovers that weren't called and this wasn't just the losing team complaining about a tough loss.
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.
A wild last minute 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 the clock.
"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."
The result will stand. The 17th-ranked and fifth-seeded Red Storm (21-10) advanced to the tournament quarterfinals for the 20th time overall and first since 2003.
"Was there a mistake made? I saw it on YouTube. There was a mistake made," Rutgers Coach Mike Rice said of the veteran officiating crew of Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton. "I'm sure they'll admit it. ... It's unfortunate. Believe me, there's going to be blood coming through my tongue right now, but it is what it is. We're going to control how we respond."
Brownlee was able to let out the loudest sigh of relief.
"I just let my emotions get to me. I was just trying to throw it up so the time would expire," he said. "Unfortunately I threw it too early. Fortunately time did expire and we came up with the win."
Dwight Hardy had 17 points for the Red Storm, who improved to 8-1 on the Garden court this season and moved into the quarterfinals Thursday against fourth-seeded and 11th-ranked Syracuse (25-6).
James Beatty had 15 points for the Scarlet Knights (15-17).
D.J. Kennedy was fouled with 4.9 seconds left and made the second of two to give St. John's the 65-63 lead. Rutgers still had one chance but a long pass just inside midcourt was knocked away and no foul was called. 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 left on the clock.
Rice ran around looking for an official to give him an explanation but they had walked off the court and the Red Storm had another big win at the Garden.
No. 21 Connecticut 79, No. 22 Georgetown 62: Kemba Walker scored 28 points in another stellar performance, leading the Huskies into the Big East Tournament quarterfinals.
UConn had struggled coming into New York City, losing four of its last five regular-season games. But with Walker putting together two masterful performances and the Huskies getting some inspired inside play for the first time in weeks, they appear capable of becoming the first team to reach championship Saturday after starting off on Tuesday.
Walker eclipsed Richard Hamilton for fourth on the school's single-season scoring list with 748 points — and he has at least a couple games still to go.
Jason Clark had 23 points and Austin Freeman scored 20 to lead the Hoyas (21-10), but the backcourt duo combined to go 2-for-13 from beyond the arc.
No. 25 Cincinnati 87, South Florida 61: Yancy Gates was nearly perfect from the field, scoring a career-high 25 points and leading seventh-seeded Cincinnati to a Big East quarterfinal matchup with No. 2 seed Notre Dame.
Gates was 10-for-11 from the field. His only miss came with 8:35 left in the game.
Cincinnati (25-7), which has won six of its last seven, matched the school's biggest win total since the 2004-05 season.
Augustus Gilchrist scored 16 points for No. 15 seed South Florida (10-23).
Long Island U. 85, Robert Morris 82 (OT): Jamal Olasewere scored seven of his 31 points in overtime, and top-seeded Long Island University (27-5) earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in 14 years by beating two-time defending champion Robert Morris (18-14) in the Northeast Conference title game.
NAIA Division II tourney
No. 1 Walsh 81, Union 59: Union's first appearance in a national tournament in 42 years didn't last long.
The Bulldogs were ousted in the first round by Walsh (30-1), which took control during a 15-5 run to open the second half. Lamar Skeeter's four-point play capped the run and gave Walsh a 48-34 lead. Skeeter scored 23 of his 28 points in the second half.
Union (16-16) was led by Stuart Stamper with 23 points.
Baylor's Jones ineligible
Baylor freshman Perry Jones was declared ineligible by the NCAA on Wednesday after an investigation about whether Jones or his family received preferential treatment or improper benefits from an AAU coach before enrolling in college.
The NCAA's decision came only hours before the Bears lost 84-67 to Oklahoma in the first round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament. Baylor played without the 6-foot-11 Jones, a starter and one of the nation's top freshmen averaging 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds.
Baylor immediately appealed to have Jones' eligibility reinstated.
The school's release said Jones had no knowledge of three 15-day loans between his mother and AAU coach that were provided while Jones was in high school. The loans were repaid in a timely manner, according to interviews conducted by Baylor officials and the NCAA staff.