Posh Alexander made a key steal and Vince Cole hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 8.5 seconds left, leading host St. John's to a 76-75 nonconference win over the Saint Peter's on Wednesday in New York.
The contest was the season opener for both teams, and not everyone was in top form -- including the bus driver. The game tipped off five minutes late because the Peacocks' bus arrived late.
Saint Peter's led 75-71 with 28 seconds left, but Cole made a layup with 18 seconds to go. On the ensuing inbounds play, Dallas Watson's deep pass was intercepted by Alexander. Cole then made his decisive shot from the left elbow.
On the final play of the game, Matthew Lee nearly won the game for Saint Peter's, dribbling the length of the court before missing a layup, in traffic, off the front rim.
Cole, a junior-college All-American last year, scored a game-high 21 points in his Red Storm debut. He made 5 of 6 3-point attempts.
Alexander, a heralded true freshman point guard, had 16 points, seven rebounds, five steals and two assists. He shot 5-for-8 from the floor.
For the Peacocks, junior forward KC Ndefo -- the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's reigning Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year -- led the way with 16 points and seven rebounds. Ndefo shot 7-for-9 from the floor.
Saint Peter's guard Daryl Banks III scored all 13 of his points in the second half. Fousseyni Drame added 12 points for the Peacocks.
The Red Storm's Julian Champagnie, a 6-foot-8 sophomore wing, missed the game due to a sprained ankle.
Two minutes into the game, Drame drove to the hoop and scored but simultaneously hit Storm guard Marcellus Earlington with an inadvertent elbow. Earlington, whistled for a foul on the play, left the game because he got a tooth knocked out in the collision.
Earlington returned later in the first half and finished with four points.
There were six tie scores and three lead changes in a first half that favored St. John's, 44-38. St. John's closed the first half on an 8-2 run.
The Peacocks regained the lead, 53-52, on a Drame layup with 11:31 left in regulation, setting up the wild finish.
--Field Level Media