The UCLA Bruins marched into Manhattan looking to get their first victory at St. John's since 1968, but the St. John's Red Storm were able to hold on for their fourth straight home victory against UCLA with the final score 66-63. UCLA won the first game of this home and home series 66-59 last year, but turnovers and second chance points for St. John's were too much for UCLA to overcome. Not that UCLA didn't try, as this game at Madison Square Garden came down to the final possession.
UCLA trailed by four with a minute left to go, and then proceeded to miss three inside shots and get three subsequent offensive rebounds in the space of 20 seconds before finally getting a Travis Ware layup to cut the lead to two. St. John's got the ball into their half of the court, and worked the clock down to eight seconds. The three point attempt was off, but Phil Greene's tip in put the Red Storm back up by four.
St. John's, possibly in a moment of confusion, then went for the intentional foul which gave UCLA a shooters chance at getting the four points needed to tie the game. UCLA made one free throw, but St. John's was able to get the rebound on the miss. St. John's missed the first free throw on the subsequent intentional foul, and David Wear's heaving attempt for the tie was just short.
Tyler Lamb lead UCLA with 18 points, shooting 50% from behind the arc and better than 50% from the field. The Bruins had four players in double figures, and shot a better percentage from the field, but in the end it came down to free throws. Both teams hit the same number of field goals, and UCLA had two more three pointers. Which made St. John's 14-16 from the free throw line the difference in the game. Had UCLA shot better from the free throw line in the first half, it would have been a different game in the final minutes.
For more recap of this matchup, be sure to check out Bruins Nation.