LANDOVER -- The ACC-Big East Challenge had not repeated its opening-act magic during the first two nights of doubleheaders this year. None of the games had gone down to the buzzer, let alone into overtime.
Until last night.
After blowing an 11-point lead in the final 8 minutes, 22 seconds of regulation, and watching Georgia Tech tie the game at the buzzer, 17th St. John's benefited from a silly foul in the closing seconds of overtime and beat the No. 20 Yellow Jackets, 73-72, at the Capital Centre.
"I think this game should have been played at a later date, but I'm glad we played it now instead of in March because it's in the sack and now we can take off," St. John's coach Lou Carnesecca after the Big East's fourth straight victory in the series.
If St. John's (4-0) used its victory over struggling Georgia Tech (2-2) as a launch pad, Ivanno Newbill will have given the Redmen a much-needed boost. It was Newbill who fouled Jason Buchanan with 3.9 seconds left in overtime with the scored tied at 72. Buchanan made the first of two free throws.
Said Newbill: "It was just a crazy foul. It's my fault."
The Yellow Jackets, who tied the game at the regulation buzzer on a follow by junior center Matt Geiger and tied the score at 72 on a pair of free throws by Kenny Anderson with six seconds left in overtime, didn't get off another shot.
Anderson took an outlet pass off the miss, but the sophomore guard thought he had more time and shot long after the buzzer sounded. Anderson finished with 14 points, and shot five of 20 from the field. He also had eight turnovers, to only two assists, while being guarded mostly by Buchanan.
"I got a lot of help from my teammates," said Buchanan.
While Anderson had an awful night until the last three minutes of regulation -- he was two of his first 15 until then -- St. John's forward Malik Sealey had a wonderful night until fouling out in the overtime. Sealey hit 13 of 18 from the field, including his first eight in the second half, to finish with 28 points.
It was the second straight loss for the Yellow Jackets, who were beaten at Richmond last Saturday and are still looking for find the right combination of players to surround Anderson. And Anderson is still trying to find people to replace Dennis Scott and Brian Oliver from last year's Final Four team. Scott and Oliver are in the National Basketball Association.
ST. JOHN'S (73) -- Sealy 13-18 2-6 28, Singleton 3-7 4-4 10, Werdann 4-9 7-8 15, Buchanan 3-11 7-10 14, Sproling 2-6 0-1 4, Mullin 0-2 2-2 2, Cain 0-2 0-0 0, Beckett 0-0 0-0 0, Scott 0-4 0-0 0, Muto 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-60 22-31 73.
GEORGIA TECH (72) -- Barry 6-11 1-2 15, Mackey 7-10 2-3 16, Geiger 6-15 4-6 16, Hill 5-5 1-4 11, Anderson 5-20 3-4 14, Domalik 0-0 0-0 0, Newbill 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 29-65 11-19 72.
Halftime--Georgia Tech 36, St. John's 30. End of regulation--St. John's 60, Georgia Tech 60. 3-point goals--St. John's 1-5 (Buchanan 1-3, Mullin 0-1, Cain 0-1), Georgia Tech 3-10 (Barry 2-4, Anderson 1-6). Fouled out--Sealy, Mackey. Rebounds--St. John's 39 (Werdann 13), Georgia Tech 42 (Newbill 9). Assists--St. John's 14 (Buchanan 8), Georgia Tech 9 (Hill 3). Total fouls--St. John's 19, Georgia Tech 19. A--19,035.