NEW YORK (AP) _ Kurt Distler returned an interception for a touchdown 29 seconds into the game and made a game-saving deflection in the end zone with 58 seconds to play, sparking St. John's to a 17-13 victory over Iona in the Metro Atlantic Conference Friday night.

Distler picked off a pass by Iona's Tom Proudian and returned it 45 yards to give St. John's a 7-0 lead. Jermaine Creighton, who ran for 88 yards in 18 carries, bolted 32 yards to give St. John's (3-6, 3-4 Metro Atlantic Conference) a 14-0 lead only 6 minutes into the game.

Glen Zammit's 27-yard field goal made it 17-0 with 3:45 left in the quarter.

Iona (2-7, 2-5) made a game of it thanks to Proudian's passing. He was 24-of-47 for 324 yards, setting up two 1-yard TD runs by Bill DeVito that cut the deficit to 17-13.

Iona was driving late in the game, but Distler ended the threat by knocking away Proudian's pass into the end zone on fourth down inside the last minute.