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Big East Tournament 2011: St. John's Escapes Rutgers With Controversial 65-63 Win

St. John's University narrowly defeated Rutgers 65-63 in a game with more than its fair share of controversy.

For the first 39 minutes and 55 seconds, Wednesday's game was fairly standard, if not exactly pretty. Rutgers managed to stick with the fifth seeded Red Storm despite shooting only 36 percent from the field by bombing away from three and collecting 14 offensive rebounds. At one point, St. John's seemed ready to pull away, holding a ten point lead with as many minutes left in the game, but the Scarlet Knights fought back, and a missed free throw with just under five seconds on the clock gave Rutgers a chance to win the game with a three point shot.

They never had the opportunity.

The inbounds play was a long pass that covered more than half the court. Gilvydas Biruta caught the lob, and attempted to tip it to a teammate who was set up for a three point shot, but had his pass partially deflected by two St John's players who had come up to meet him in mid-air. It's possible there was contact on the play, but that questionable no-call would pale in comparison to what was to follow.

With just a few seconds left on the clock, St John's Justin Brownlee grabbed the loose ball, ran to the sideline, and threw it out of bounds. There was still time left on the clock.

To the shock of the announcers, the clock ran down as the refs calmly left the court, completely ignoring the blatant turnover that should have given the Scarlet Knights one last shot. 

(via Timothy Burke)

There's sure to be no small amount of attention on these officials and their actions--or lack thereof--in the days to come. But for now, St. John's advances.

2011 Big East Tournament Schedule

Tuesday, March 8 - First Round (ESPN2/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 16 DePaul, 97-71
No. 13 Rutgers def. No. 12 Seton Hall, 76-70 
No. 15 USF def. No. 10 Villanova, 70-69
No. 11 Marquette def. No. 14 Providence, 87-66

Wednesday, March 9 - Second Round (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 8 Georgetown, 79-62
No. 5 St. John's def. No. 13 Rutgers, 65-63
No. 7 Cincinnati (24-7) vs. No. 15 USF 7 p.m.
No. 6 West Virginia (20-10) vs. No. 11 Marquette 9 p.m.

Thursday, March 10 - Quarterfinals (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 1 Pittsburgh (27-4) vs. No. 9 Connecticut Noon
No. 4 Syracuse (25-6) vs. St. John's 2 p.m.
No. 2 Notre Dame (25-5) vs. 7/10/15 winner 7 p.m.
No. 3 Louisville (23-8) vs. 6/11/14 winner 9 p.m.

Friday, March 11 - Semifinals (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
Thursday afternoon winners 7 p.m.
Thursday evening winners 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 12 - Championship (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
Semifinal winners 9 p.m.