EditorsNote: adds photo
Julian Champagnie totaled 21 points and 12 rebounds and St. John’s made two clutch defensive plays in the final seconds to hold on for an 88-86 victory over visiting Marquette Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
The Red Storm (16-15, 5-13 Big East) ended their first regular season under coach Mike Anderson by nearly blowing another big lead at home but survived thanks to Greg Williams, who came up with two steals in the final three seconds.
St. John’s held an 87-80 lead with 79 seconds left on Champaginie’s layup but sweated out the finish. Marquette was within 88-86 when Sacar Amin converted a 3-point play with 44 seconds remaining. St. John’s missed a chance to secure the win when Nick Rutherford missed a 3-point try with 15 seconds left but Williams stripped Markus Howard in the lane with three seconds to go.
After Rutherford missed two free throws with two seconds remaining, Williams secured the steal on Jamal Cain and the game ended.
Rutherford added 19 points for St. John’s, which held a 21-point lead early in the second half. Williams contributed 17 while LJ Figueroa chipped in 15 as St. John’s shot 47.5 percent, had 12 steals and survived shooting 58.3 percent (21 of 36) from the free-throw line.
Marquette (18-12, 8-10) lost its third straight and for the sixth time in the last seven games. The Golden Eagles could have clinched no lower than a sixth seed in the Big East tournament with a win.
Howard led all scorers with 30 points and reached 30 points for the fifth straight game. Amin added 24 and was the only other double-figure scorer for Marquette, which shot 45.2 percent.
St. John’s scored the game’s first 12 points but Marquette countered with a 16-2 burst to take a 16-14 lead on a basket by Jayce Johnson with 11:01 remaining. The Red Storm then ripped off a 26-8 run over the next 7 1/2 minutes to get a 40-24 lead on a hoop by Williams and held a 47-28 lead at halftime.
—Field Level Media