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2011 Big East Tournament: Connecticut, St. John's Advance In Afternoon Games

The UConn Huskies won their second game in as many days by besting a sluggish Georgetown team, while the St. John's Red Storm advanced past Rutgers in a game that went down to the wire.

The Huskies easily dispatched the Hoyas, 79-62. Kemba Walker led all scorers, pacing the Huskies for 28 points in one of the senior guard's most explosive performances of the season. Walker, who some consider to be the best player in the conference, and possibly the country, was left off of the All-Big East First Team, a slight which may have motivated him to control today's game. Georgetown dug themselves a deep hole missing 17 three-pointers, and generally never looking in sync. Austin Freeman had 23 points, but was 1-for-7 from deep range. The Huskies will play their third game in three days tomorrow against regular season champions, Pittsburgh.

The Rutgers/St. John's game was much more competitive, a brutally physical Big East battle that might have been hard to watch for some, but was a thing of beauty for fans of Big East basketball. 

St. John's controlled the entire game until beginning to coast with about six minutes remaining. Rutgers capitalized, taking their first lead on a Mike Coburn layup and one with 57 seconds remaining. St. John's re-took the lead with two free throws of their own. Rutgers had a chance to get a go ahead basket with 20 seconds remaining, but Dane Miller turned the ball over in traffic. St. John's forward Sean Evans extended the lead to three with a pair of free throws. St. John's coach Steve Lavin chose to foul Rutgers instead of letting them attempt a tying three, a move that came back to haunt him. After Coburn hit two free throws to cut the margin to one, St. John's turned the ball over to give the Scarlet Knights one more chance to win the game. Coburn drove to the basket and tried to draw a foul, but was unable to convert the basket.

In an even more bizarre sequence, the game ended when there should have been 1.7 seconds left on the clock. In fact, it should be Rutgers ball RIGHT NOW, with a chance to win. Instead, the game is over. In case you needed me to tell you, Jim Burr and Tim Higgins worked this game. They. Are. Awful. Referees. Thank goodness they won't be available for the West Virginia game later!

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.