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St. John's 64; Texas Tech 63

April 2, 2003 at 9:48 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, April 2 (UPI) -- Marcus Hatten came up with a steal and a layup with 16 seconds left Tuesday night that gave St. John's a 64-63 win over Texas Tech in the semifinals of the NIT.

St. John's goes after its sixth NIT championship against Big East rival Georgetown in the title game on Thursday.

Texas Tech Coach Bob Knight made his first visit to New York since winning the 1996 Preseason NIT with Indiana. Texas Tech (21-13) appeared to be in good shape for a victory after taking a 57-47 lead on a dunk by Mikey Marshall with 7:22 remaining.

St. John's rallied for a 63-62 edge before Hatten fired an airball with 66 seconds to go. The Red Storm were whistled for a kicked ball with 40 seconds left, giving Texas Tech a new shot clock.

St. John's (20-13) elected not to foul and appeared to drop back harmlessly in a zone defense, but Hatten swooped in, easily picked off a pass by Will Chavis, and went the distance for an easy layup.

"I was reading the guy with the ball, I knew he was going to pass it," Hatten said. "I just tried to turn my back like I was paying him no mind and he fell for it."

Texas Tech came down looking for the win, but Chavis was stripped in the lane and the ball ended up in the hands of Hatten, who was fouled with four seconds left.

"I probably should have taken a timeout when we came down the floor the last time, and if I had to do it over again, I would have," Knight said. "I don't think I have it to do over again."

Hatten missed both free throws, and the rebound was knocked out of bounds by St. John's. Kasib Powell threw his inbounds pass into the frontcourt to Chavis, who misfired on a long jumper as time expired.

The comeback was reminiscent of the Red Storm's 72-71 win at the Garden over Duke on March 2 in which it scored the final 12 points. That game has spurred St. John's to wins in eight of the last nine games.

"We won that game against Duke somehow, it turned the season around," said St. John's Coach Mike Jarvis. "Anytime you can get a victory against a Bobby Knight-coached team, you did something well."

Hatten scored 24 points and Ingram added 16 for St. John's.

Andre Emmett scored 21 points and Teaneck, N.J., native Powell added 19 for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders had trouble with the Red Storm's pressure defense, committing 20 turnovers.

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