Simon scores 24, St. John’s rallies past Butler 75-68, 2OT

NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Simon turned three takeaways in the last minute — a steal and two defensive rebounds — into five points at the other end and St. John’s defeated Butler 72-68 in double overtime on Wednesday night.

Simon, a transfer from Arizona, led St. John’s (15-15, 4-13 Big East) with 24 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and five assists. Marvin Clark II, who sank a pair of insurance free throws at the very end, added 20 points and two blocked shots, Bashir Ahmed tossed in 22 points.

And the resurgent Red Storm did it without sophomore sensation Shamorie Ponds, who did not play due to an abdominal strain and is listed as day-to-day. Since shocking then No. 4 Duke, St. John’s reeled off four straight and now has won five of its last seven.

Butler, a No. 4 seed to the NCAA Tournament last season, advancing to the Elite Eight, has lost four of six. The Bulldogs have been mentioned as a possible bubble team to the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Paul Jorgenson and Kelan Martin scored 17 points each for the Bulldogs (19-11, 9-8).

The win lifts St. John’s into ninth place in the Big East and is the first overtime (and double overtime) win since March 8, 2014.

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