Chris Mullin scored 18 points in leading No. 5 St. John's to its seventh Holiday Festival championship with a 66-56 victory over No. 14 North Carolina State yesterday in New York's Madison Square Garden.

In the third-place game, Old Dominion, led by Kenny Gattison's 31 points, defeated Rutgers, 82-80.

N.C. State led for the last time at 13-11 before the Redmen (8-1) went on a 21-6 tear. The Redmen led, 39-29, at the half and went on to their biggest lead, 49-33, early in the second half on Walter Berry's layup.

The closest N.C. State (7-2) came the rest of the way was 53-46 with 9:03 remaining. St. John's held the Wolfpack to 37 percent shooting from the floor while making 51 percent of its shots in what Coach Lou Carnesecca called "our best performance."

Berry, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, had 15 for St. John's. Reserve Russell Pierre paced N.C. State with 15 points and Cozell McQueen had 13, but Lorenzo Charles was held to 13 -- about six below his average.

"When the back court shoots five for 30, it's very difficult to have a good outing," N.C. State Coach Jim Valvano said. "It's gonna be Struggle City. They just packed it in tight inside with a man-to-man and we couldn't put the ball in the ocean from downtown."