Rutgers 82, St. John’s 70

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NEW YORK (AP)—Rutgers gave Gary Waters at least one more game to coach.

Quincy Douby scored 36 points, and the Scarlet Knights qualified for the Big East tournament with an 82-70 victory over St. John’s on Sunday.

The Scarlet Knights (17-12, 7-9) will be the 10th seed in the conference tournament. Waters resigned on March 1, effective at the end of the season, his fifth at Rutgers. The end could come Wednesday night in the opening round against seventh-seeded Seton Hall.

“It was monumental, if you want to call it that,” Waters said. “We went through a lot the last week. It was something our kids wanted. A lot of people are going to say they were playing for me. They were playing for them and I want them to have success. When this is over they won’t see me as much any more. They had a chance to clear their heads and play basketball. We’re going to go out and do our very best and with Douby shooting like that we could go real far.”

Douby, the conference’s leading scorer at 24.7 points per game, had 24 in the second half. He hit a 3-pointer and added a three-point play to start an 11-1 run that gave Rutgers a 58-48 lead with 9:13 to go.

Douby finished 12-for-20 from the field, including 6-for-9 from 3-point range.

“We did a good job as a team of not focusing on that,” Douby said of the days following Waters’ resignation. “We knew we had to get this win to play in the Big East tournament and we could make a run there and play in a postseason tournament.”

Eugene Lawrence had 22 points for the Red Storm (12-15, 5-11), who will miss the Big East tournament for the third straight year.

In 2004, St. John’s kept itself out of the tournament played at Madison Square Garden following the suspension of six players after a curfew-breaking incident on a trip to Pittsburgh. Last year, the school missed the tournament after placing itself on probation when it admitted to NCAA violations regarding extra benefits to a player.

“My guys tried hard. I told them in the locker room it does hurt but that means we’re playing games that mean something,” second-year St. John’s coach Norm Roberts said. “Until you get to where you want to be at the top you have to go through some of this. It should hurt and it does hurt.”

It was the fifth time this season Douby scored at least 30 points and the third time in six games. His season best was 41 at Syracuse.

“He’s a great, great player,” Roberts said of Douby. “All he does is make unbelievable shots.”

The last of Douby’s 3s made it 73-61 with 3:01 left and it started a 7-0 run that gave Rutgers its biggest lead, 77-61 with 1:06 to go.

Douby came within five points of the Carnesecca Arena record for points by an opponent set by Ernie DiGregorio of Providence in 1973.

Marquis Webb added 12 points for Rutgers, while Jimmie Inglis had 10.

Webb said Waters’ resignation made this “definitely an awkward situation. Whoever made the decision made the decision based on what’s good for the program, I guess.”

Waters’ record at Rutgers is 77-73 and the Scarlet Knights made two NIT appearances under him

Lamont Hamilton had 14 points for the Red Storm.

“Everybody’s down in there,” Hamilton said of the locker room. “We had a chance to win and do a big thing. We didn’t get the job done.”

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Rutgers
Q. Douby Q. Douby
12-20,  36 Pts
3 Rebs, 4 Assists
 St. John's
E. Lawrence E. Lawrence
6-10,  22 Pts
2 Rebs, 7 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists