NEW YORK (Ticker) -- His team's initial Big East Conference victory of the season could not have come at a better time for first-year St. John's coach Norm Roberts.
Daryll Hill scored 26 points and Lamont Hamilton added 18 as St. John's posted a 65-62 victory over 17th-ranked Pittsburgh.
"It feels good to win," Roberts said. "I was just happy we were able to pull this game out in Madison Square Garden. We battled the whole game."
Picked last in the Big East preseason coaches' poll, St. John's lost its first three conference games, including a 67-66 heartbreaker on Saturday to Notre Dame.
"I think we have to constantly get better," Roberts said. "Hard work is paying off. Right after the Notre Dame game, I told my team how proud I was of them because the way they competed. I told them the wins will take care of themselves if they compete the way they should."
Trailing by three in this one, St. John's freshman Dexter Gray converted a three-point play - his lone basket of the game - on a feed from Hill to tie the game, 62-62, with 48 seconds remaining.
"He had confidence in me, and I made the shot," Gray said.
On the Panthers' next possession, Krauser got caught in a double-team and committed his eighth turnover of the game. Ronald Ramon fouled Hill with 25.6 seconds left.
Hill converted both free throws, and Ramon - one of seven New York natives on the Panthers - missed an open look at a 3-pointer from the left corner with 6.3 seconds left.
Hill grabbed the rebound, was fouled and split a pair of free throws for St. John's (7-7, 1-3 Big East), which shot 48 percent (25-of-52).
"I knew this was game was going to happen, because everybody was confident in practice," Hill said. "We never got down, we just worked hard. It showed on the court."
Hill scored 17 points in the first half on 7-of-10 shooting and Hamilton chipped in 10 for St. John's, which shot 58 percent (15-of-26) and took a 36-35 lead at the break.
The Red Storm opened the second half on a 7-0 run and pushed their lead to 11 when Eugene Lawrence, who was held scoreless in the first half, nailed a 3-pointer from the wing with 13:33 remaining.
But St. John's went into a scoring drought as Krauser, who finished with 22 points, sparked a 13-2 run. His feed to Chris Taft led to a dunk and a 54-54 tie with 7:40 to play.
"Early in the second half, they went zone and we got passive in how we attacked," Roberts said. "We knew if we just guarded and rebounded, we had a chance to win at the end."
Taft scored 11 points for Pittsburgh (12-3, 2-2), which has lost five straight to St. John's in games played in New York City.
"Obviously this was a disappointing loss for us," Panthers coach Jamie Dixon said. "I thought St. John's played well. I was proud of my guys for fighting back and getting out of the deficit. We put ourselves in a hole and we weren't able to finish the game off at the end."