NEW YORK (AP) Myles Mack scored 13 points, including making two free throws with 32 seconds to play, and Rutgers beat St. John's 58-56 on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Both teams ran spread offenses that used up quite a bit of the 35-second shot clock each possession. The final 3 minutes became mostly a free-throw shooting contest and Rutgers prevailed even though the Scarlet Knights (11-3, 2-1 Big East) made just 3 of 5 from the line over the final 32 seconds.
Dane Miller, who finished with 11 points, gave Rutgers the lead for good at 53-52 on a basket down low and he added to it 30 seconds later when he scored on a tip-in.
St. John's (9-6, 1-2) struggled all over the court in trying to tie or take a lead in the final 2 minutes. The Red Storm missed two shots - 3-point attempts by D'Angelo Harrison and JaKarr Sampson - in the final 15 seconds when they trailed by either one or two points.
Mack made two free throws to give Rutgers the three-point lead with 32 seconds to play. Sampson scored down low to make it 57-56 with 23 seconds to go and then following a miss of front end of a 1-and-1 but Harrison took a 3 and missed badly. Poole made one of two from the line with 6.6 seconds left and Sampson's final shot of the game was a 3.
Harrison had 20 points for the Red Storm, the 11th time he reached that figure this season.
Both teams were coming off wins over ranked teams. St. John's won at then-No. 14 Cincinnati, 53-52, while Rutgers beat then-No. 24 Pittsburgh 67-62.
Rutgers is off to a 2-1 start in the Big East for just third time and this was a big win for coach Mike Rice who is 2-1 since returning from a three-game school-imposed suspension for inappropriate behavior.
Chris Obekpa had five blocked shots giving him 76 for the season that ties Walter Berry for the school record.
Rutgers took a 13-2 lead after St. John's made one of its first 10 shots from the field. The lead didn't last all that long as the Red Storm went ahead 18-17 with 7:04 left when Sampson capped an 8-0 run with a dunk on the fast break. St. John's closed the half with a 7-2 run that gave them a 27-23 lead.
St. John's finished the half shooting 34.5 percent (10 of 29) while Rutgers shot 34.8 percent (8 of 23).
The teams meet again in two weeks in Piscataway, N.J.