Saturday, February 19, 2011
Posted: 5:21 p.m.
The Associated Press
St. John's 60, No. 4 Pittsburgh 59
NEW YORK -- Dwight Hardy's underhanded flip with 1.2 seconds to play gave St. John's a 60-59 victory over No. 4 Pittsburgh on Saturday, the Red Storm's fifth win over a highly ranked team this season.
Hardy, who finished with 19 points, started his drive near midcourt, went past one defender on the right side of the court only to find another one there. He went to the baseline and underhanded the ball up and over the rim to give the Red Storm (17-9, 9-5 Big East) another highly ranked victim in Madison Square Garden.
St. John's beat then-No. 13 Georgetown, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 3 Duke and No. 10 Connecticut, all big wins in the eyes of the NCAA tournament selection committee and the Red Storm are looking for their first bid since 2002.
Ashton Gibbs, who missed the last three games with an MCL injury to his left knee, came back in a big way for the Panthers (24-3, 12-2), who had won five straight overall and five in a row over St. John's.
The junior guard finished with a career-high 26 points and was 6 of 9 from the 3-point line, matching Pittsburgh's total number of 3s in his absence.
The win is the sixth in seven games for St. John's and all of them have been with coach Steve Lavin and his staff wearing white sneakers and no ties. They started the look in the win over Duke and plan to keep it the rest of the season.
West Virginia 72, No. 8 Notre Dame 58
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- One of Truck Bryant's best games of the year gave West Virginia the start it needed to a difficult five-game stretch run.
Bryant broke out of a slump by scoring 24, West Virginia took command early in the second half and beat No. 8 Notre Dame 72-58 on Saturday, ending the Irish's seven-game winning streak.
The Mountaineers (17-9, 8-6 Big East) got a badly needed win against a ranked opponent to prop up their NCAA tournament hopes. West Virginia had been struggling since a 68-64 win over No. 11 Purdue on Jan. 16 that pushed its record to 12-4.
The Mountaineers had lost five of nine entering Saturday.
"We played with a lot of enthusiasm throughout the whole game," said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. "That is probably as hard as we have played since the Purdue game, for 40 minutes. I think everyone we put in played hard."
None more than Bryant, who single-handedly turned things around after West Virginia shot 29 percent (8 of 28) before halftime.
"On a day like this where their backs were against the wall, Bryant made some big shots," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.
Bryant had shot 24 percent from the floor and averaged six points over his last five games, but went 5 of 11 against Notre Dame -- and 10 of 2 from the foul line -- as the Mountaineers outscored the Irish 20-8 on free throws.
Bryant came within one point of his season high of 25 last month at Marquette.
"It's his best game in a long time," Huggins said. "And not just his made shots. I thought his decision making was better."
No. 17 Syracuse 84, Rutgers 80
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Kris Joseph scored six of his 21 points in overtime, and No. 17 Syracuse held off Rutgers 84-80 on Saturday.
The game was tied at 70 after regulation, and Joseph gave the Orange (22-6, 9-6 Big East) a 75-71 lead when he curled off a screen at the top of the key and swished a feed from Brandon Triche.
Jonathan Mitchell responded 16 seconds later with a 3 from the right wing, and after Scoop Jardine's baseline drive and floater made it 77-75 with 2:07 left, the Scarlet Knights missed three straight shots. Syracuse sank 7 of 10 free throws in the final 63 seconds to hold on.
Rick Jackson, who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, had a chance to win it in regulation, but he missed one of two free throws with 9.9 seconds left and James Beatty missed a long 3 at the buzzer as the game headed for overtime.
Rutgers (13-13, 4-10) has lost five of six and fell to 1-22 all-time in games played at Syracuse, including 15 straight losses. The lone victory was 76-75 on Feb. 6, 1975 -- the season before Jim Boeheim became head coach of the Orange.
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