Naji Marshall fed freshman forward Zach Freemantle for a short basket with 10 seconds left as Xavier scored the final eight points to rally for a 77-74 victory over St. John's on Monday night in New York.
Marshall produced 15 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Musketeers (17-9, 6-7 Big East). Xavier's Tyrique Jones posted 15 points and 15 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season while Paul Scruggs contributed 16 points.
In addition to hitting the go-ahead shot with 10 seconds left, Freemantle added two free throws with two seconds to go. KyKy Tandy (10 points) blocked Nick Rutherford's 30-footer at the buzzer to wrap up the win.
Marcellus Earlington and Rutherford combined for 33 points off the bench for St. John's (14-12, 3-10), which misfired on 12 of its last 13 shots from the field.
Rutherford scored 14 of his season-high 16 points in the first half, and Earlington supplied 15 of his 17 points after halftime. Rasheem Dunn also scored 17 for the Red Storm, who owned a 22-3 advantage in fast-break points and forced Xavier into a season-high 22 turnovers.
After Rutherford's breakaway dunk gave St. John's a 74-69 lead with 2:05 left, the Red Storm missed their next three shots -- all of them attempted by LJ Figueroa.
Tandy started Xavier's comeback with a driving layup while getting fouled, though he missed the ensuing free throw. Marshall added a basket to cut the deficit to 74-73 with 1:17 left.
St. John's started just as cold as it finished. The Red Storm missed their first eight shots as Xavier bolted to a 14-3 lead in the opening six minutes, but the hosts slashed Xavier's lead to 39-37 by halftime.
The pace turned frenetic in the second half as Marshall kept slashing to the basket, making circus layups and drawing fouls as he kept Xavier afloat. He scored nine consecutive points for Xavier, but Dunn and Earlington kept answering for the Red Storm as the hosts cranked up their transition game.
St. John's took its biggest lead with Dunn fed Earlington for a layup to make it 68-61 with 7:54 to go.
--Field Level Media