On the sporting world's biggest stage, St. John's Red Storm senior Dwight Hardy, who scored a collegiate-best 33 points, declared himself the best point guard in the Big East Conference Thursday night. Hardy, who at one point scored 12-straight points in the second half, propelled the Johnnies to a 89-72 victory over the Connecticut Huskies (No. 10 in the AP pol and No. 9 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) at Madison Square Garden. St. John's (14-9, 6-5 Big East) has won three of its last four games, while UConn (18-5, 6-5) has lost three of its last four.
Leading 32-31 at halftime, St. John's used a 8-0 run, capped by senior forward D.J. Kennedy's dunk, to take a 43-31 advantage. From there, Hardy took over. With his team leading 48-43 with 16:06 to play, Hardy scored the Red Storm's next 12 points to propel them to a 60-42 lead with about 13 minutes to go. The Red Storm led by as much as 24 points.
Kennedy finished with a season-best 20 points and collected a game-best 11 rebounds. Senior guard Paris Horne added 12 points. For UConn, freshman forward Roscoe Smith had a team-best 16. Junior guard Kemba Walker, who shot 4-of-16 (25.0 percent) from the field and netted 15 points, struggled.
Statistically, St. John's owned the rebound (39-30) and assist (17-12) margin.
The St. John's basketball schedule features the Red Storm at the Cincinnati Bearcats on Sunday (noon). Next week, The Johnnies travel to the Marquette Golden Eagles Tuesday night (9 p.m.), then host the No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday (noon).