MILWAUKEE — Kam Jones scored 23 points and No. 6 Marquette barely avoided a last-minute collapse, topping St. John’s 96-94 on Saturday for its sixth consecutive victory.
St. John's erased nearly all of a 10-point deficit in the final 21 seconds of regulation and had a chance to tie the game before O'Mar Stanley missed the second of two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining. Jones got the rebound and hit one of two free throws to complete the scoring in the regular-season finale for each school.
Marquette (25-6, 17-3) already had clinched its first Big East outright championship Tuesday by winning 72-56 at Butler. The Golden Eagles will be the top seed in the Big East Tournament, an event they’ve never won.
The Golden Eagles have won 11 of their last 12 and 16 of their last 18.
Marquette appeared to have the game in hand after Stevie Mitchell made two free throws to make it 93-83 with 29 seconds left. Marquette even inserted senior walk-on Michael Kennedy into the game.
But the Red Storm wouldn't go away.
David Jones hit a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left, then got a backcourt steal and sank another 3 to cut the lead to 93-89 with 18 seconds remaining. After a pair of Mitchell free throws, St. John's guard Dylan Addae-Wusu banked in a 3-pointer while getting fouled and hit the ensuing free throw to make 95-93 with 12 seconds left.
Marquette's David Joplin, who was shooting 84.6% from the line, missed a pair of free throws to keep the lead at two. David Jones missed a potential tying shot, but Stanley got the rebound and was fouled.
After Stanley made his first free throw, Marquette called a timeout. Stanley missed the next shot, and Marquette held on to the rebound and the game.
Marquette's Tyler Kolek had 18 points and 10 assists. Mitchell scored 14, Oso Ighodaro had 13 and Olivier-Maxence Prosper finished with 10.
Addae-Wusu scored a career-high 25 for St. John's, including a 3-pointer from about 60 feet away that beat the first-half buzzer. Posh Alexander had 18 and David Jones added 17.
Josh Soriano of St. John's had 14 points and 11 rebounds in his 23rd double-double of the season, tying Purdue's Zach Edey for the Division I lead.
St. John's: The Red Storm did a nice job fighting back on the road after falling behind so early, but turnovers proved costly. St. John's shot 53.1% from the floor but committed 19 turnovers. St. John's entered the day ranked 10th out of 11 Big East teams in free-throw percentage, but the Red Storm made their first 16 attempts before missing the one that would have tied the game.
Marquette: It would have been natural to experience a letdown after clinching the Big East title outright, but Marquette instead played extremely well at the start of the game. The Golden Eagles haven't won an NCAA Tournament game since 2013, but this team is capable of making a deep postseason run.
Marquette has its highest ranking since the 1977-78 season, when it spent part of that season in the No. 1 spot. By going 2-0 this week, the Golden Eagles made their case for a spot in the top five.
St. John’s: As the No. 8 seed in the Big East Tournament, the Red Storm will face No. 9 seed Butler in a first-round game Wednesday at New York.
Marquette: Faces either St. John’s or Butler in a Big East quarterfinal Thursday at New York.