Pittsburgh had felt right at home in Madison Square Garden in recent years, with a pair of BIG EAST titles highlighting an impressive string of wins in the World's Most Famous Arena.
St. John's, however, has emphatically reclaimed title to its home arena this season, with Saturday's 60-59 win against the Panthers the latest example. Dwight Hardy drove along the baseline for the winning layup with 1.2 seconds left, giving St. John's its fifth victory this season against a team that has been in the top 10 - wiht all five wins coming at Madison Square Garden.
For its part, Pittsburgh was in position to win after Travon Woodall hit a 3-pointer with 11.3 seconds left, giving the Panthers a 59-58 lead. But Hardy accounted for the eighth lead change of the second half and stood as the Red Storm's only field goal in the final six minutes.
Hardy finished with 19 points for St. John's, which improved to 17-9 overall and 9-5 in the BIG EAST, moving into a three-way tie for fourth place. Pittsburgh fell to 24-3 overall and 12-2 in BIG EAST play, but maintained a two-game lead in the standings.
The Panther lead held because West Virginia overcame a one-point halftime deficit to pull away for a 72-58 win against Notre Dame at the West Virginia Coliseum. Daryl Bryant scored a game-high 24 points to help the Mountaineers overcome 29-percent first-half shooting and snap Notre Dame's seven-game winning streak.
The Mountaineers improved to 17-9 overall and 8-6 in BIG EAST play, while the Irish, who got 19 points from Ben Hansbrough, fell to 21-5 overall and 10-4 in the BIG EAST.
Three BIG EAST games were decided in overtime Saturday, including a pair of wins by visiting teams.
Villanova needed a career-high 34 points from guard Corey Fisher, including the tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation, to escape with a 77-75 win against upset-minded DePaul at Allstate Arena.
DePaul held a 60-59 lead after a Jeremiah Kelly 3-pointer and the Blue Demons pushed the lead to three with a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left before Fisher forced OT for the Wildcats.
Villanova improved to 9-5 in BIG EAST play and 21-6 overall. Kelly had 25 points for DePaul, which fell to 7-19 overall and 1-13 in the conference.
Cincinnati also prevailed on the road in OT, but it wasn't as easy as the 93-81 final indicated. The Bearcats lost a 16-point lead to Providence in the second half, but regrouped to outscore the Friars 20-8 in the five-minute overtime period.
Rashad Bishop scored a career-high 23 points, while Yancy Gates had 21 points and eight rebounds. Marshon Brooks scored a game-high 27 points for Providence, which didn't lead until the final minute of regulation. But Cincinnati scored the first 10 points of overtime on its way to improving to 21-6 overall and 8-6 in the BIG EAST. Providence fell to 14-13 overall and 3-11 in the BIG EAST.
The lone home team to hold serve in overtime was Syracuse, which saw forward Kris Joseph score six of his 21 points in the extra period to fend off Rutgers 84-80.
The Orange finished with a 34-9 scoring advantage at the free throw line, but Rutgers got 18 points from guard Mike Coburn to help force overtime. Syracuse improved to 22-1 all-time against Rutgers the Carrier Dome and stands 22-6 overall and 9-6 in the BIG EAST. Rutgers fell to 13-13 overall and 4-10 in BIG EAST play.
Georgetown picked up a road win as the Hoyas road a 26-point effort by Chris Wright to a 61-55 win against USF at the Sun Dome.
Wright was 8-of-12 from the field and made six free throws in the final 30 seconds to help the Hoyas to their ninth win in 10 games. Georgetown shot 51.2 percent from the field while limiting the Bulls to 39 percent. The Hoyas improved to 21-6 overall and have sole possession of third place in the BIG EAST at 10-5. USF is 8-20 overall and 3-13 in conference play.
Marquette capped a busy day in the BIG EAST with a 73-64 win against Seton Hall at the Bradley Center. Jimmy Butler scored 16 points and Darius Johnson-Odom had 13 as the Golden Eagles used an 18-5 run in the second half to pull away.
Seton Hall got 23 points from Jeremy Hazell, who became the BIG EAST's career leader in 3-pointers made (192). Notre Dame's Colin Falls had 189 from 2003-07.
The Golden Eagles improved to 16-11 overall and 7-7 in the BIG EAST, while the Pirates fell to 11-16 overall and 5-10 in the circuit.