The win was not pretty to say the least, and perhaps one can even say it was spoiled in the last few seconds, but it was a victory just the same. St. John's Red Storm now moves on to play Syracuse in the third round of the Big East Tournament tomorrow afternoon at Madison Square Garden here in New York City, but those last few seconds of the game will no doubt live in infamy for fans of Rutgers' Scarlet Knights.
Senior Justin Brownlee picked off a pass, took it down court, and seemed to travel in the process. Then, inexplicably, with a few seconds left, he seemed to step out of bounds and toss the ball into the crowd. Was this just a young player's being caught up in the moment, or was it a calculated tactic to end the game before the buzzer? Maybe only Brownlee knows for sure, but the game officials didn't call anything and walked off the court. Game over; Red Storm wins!
After the game Big East Commissioner John Marinatto admitted there were blown calls at the end of the game, but he also indicated that they were not "correctable under NCAA rules." So I guess all the replays in the world - and all the Scarlet Knights fans watching it again and again on YouTube -will not change the outcome of this contest. Still, one can argue that after Brownlee stole the ball from Rutgers the game was ostensibly over with 1.7 seconds left.
Now St. John's (5-1 at the Garden this year) moves on to play Syracuse in the fourth round, the team responsible for Red Storm's one MSG loss this season. It promises to be an exciting match-up, but keep in mind that St. John's coach Steve Lavin has led this team all season through one amazing win after another, and the Garden crowd will be with the home team all the way.
Photo Cedit: Sabo/Daily News