Lavor Postell had 23 points, 7 rebounds and 4 big plays over the final 40 seconds yesterday as visiting St. John's beat No. 5 Connecticut, 82-77, the Red Storm's sixth straight victory.

St. John's (12-2, 4-0 Big East) had no starter taller than any player on Connecticut's front line, but the Red Storm came up with the biggest rebounds, most of them by the 6-foot-6 Postell.

Connecticut (12-3, 1-2) was down 57-43 with 11 minutes 34 seconds to play after Erick Barkley stole the ball and went in for a layup.

The Huskies kept clawing away behind guard Khalid El-Amin (22 points, seven assists), who had 12 points in the 26-14 run that cut the deficit to 71-69 with 2:22 left.

With 37 seconds left, Bootsy Thornton took a three-point attempt. Postell tipped the rebound back out to Barkley, who was fouled.

Barkley missed the foul shot and Postell got the rebound. He was fouled and made the second of two free throws.

Albert Mouring's three-pointer with 13 seconds left had Connecticut trailing 78-74, but Postell made two free throws two seconds later.

Mouring hit another three with 4.8 seconds left to make it 80-77, but Postell again made two free throws to close out the game.

DUKE 85, FLORIDA ST. 54: Freshmen Carlos Boozer had 21 points and Jason Williams 20 as the sixth-ranked Blue Devils won their 26th straight ACC game, this one on the road. Duke (13-2, 4-0) needs a home victory Wednesday night against North Carolina State to match the ACC mark of 27 set by the Wolfpack from 1972 to '75.

Chris Carrawell added 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for Duke.

The Seminoles (7-7, 2-1) scored only 12 points in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Ron Hale, the ACC's leading scorer in conference games, was held to two points and one rebound.

MICHIGAN 95, ILLINOIS 91: Jamal Crawford, benched most of the first half for an undisclosed team violation, scored six of his 14 points in overtime as the Wolverines, at home, upset the No. 22 Illini.

It was the second straight overtime win for the Wolverines (11-3, 2-1 Big Ten), who went two extra periods to win at Purdue Jan. 8. Illinois (9-6, 1-3) has lost three straight.

LaVell Blanchard led Michigan with 22 points. Cory Bradford scored 28 for the Illini, who hurt themselves with 32 fouls.

DePAUL 77, HOUSTON 68: Paul McPherson scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half as the No. 21 Blue Demons won in Houston. Quentin Richardson scored 18 points and had 14 rebounds for DePaul (12-4, 3-1 Conference USA).

DePaul led 36-24 at halftime, but the Cougars (7-10, 1-3) rallied with a trapping defense that forced the Blue Demons into 16 second-half turnovers. They had 25 for the game. For the Cougars, Gee Gervin had 21 of his 26 points in the second half, and Kenny Younger scored 18 of his 24.

AUBURN 51, MISSISSIPPI ST. 45: Doc Robinson scored 14 points and Chris Porter hit a three-pointer with 25 seconds left as the No. 4 Tigers escaped on the road. The Tigers (15-1, 3-0 Southeastern) shot only 35 percent.

Despite going 14:44 from the end of the first half to about midway through the second without a field goal, Mississippi State (10-6, 2-2) took the lead with 4:36 left.

Mississippi State center Robert Jackson finished with a game-high 15 points and 18 rebounds.

SYRACUSE 80, NOTRE DAME 57: Preston Shumpert hit four three-pointers in just over three minutes in the second half, leading the No. 7 Orangemen to a home victory. Syracuse (14-0, 4-0 Big East) remained the only undefeated team in Division I. The Orangemen hit 14 of 27 three-pointers.

Shumpert, who hit 7 of 9 three-pointers, finished with a career-high 26 points and tied the school record for threes in a game.

Notre Dame (11-6, 2-1) was led by Troy Murphy, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds.

TULSA 67, RICE 49: In Houston, Greg Harrington scored 21 points and led an early second-half charge that helped the No. 19 Golden Hurricane (16-1, 2-0 Western Athletic) win its ninth in a row. Harrington was 7 for 8 from the field and aided a 19-6 run early in the second half that started after the Owls (4-9, 0-2) tied it at 26 with 19:00 left.