NEW YORK -- No. 12 Pitt defeated St. John's, 71-64, today at Madison Square Garden.
Sophomore forward Nasir Robinson and junior reserve Gilbert Brown led Pitt with 13 points apiece. Ashton Gibbs added 12.
Pitt (22-7, 11-5) can clinch a double bye at next week's Big East tournament by winning one of its final two games against Providence and Rutgers.
The Panthers have won their past five games against St. John's (15-13, 5-11) and swept the season series from the Red Storm.
Pitt led 31-23 at halftime after the bench scored 17 points. The Panthers got a big lift from Travon Woodall and Chase Adams, who were forced into minutes after Ashton Gibbs and Jermaine Dixon both picked up two fouls. Woodall had six points in the half and Adams three.
The Panthers also got a boost in the frontcourt. Reserve forwards Brown and Dante Taylor each scored four points.
St. John's never cut the lead below five in the second half.
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1230. First Published February 27, 2010 7:30 PM