If you're a team in the Big East Conference, you don't want the St. John's basketball program on your upcoming schedule. Especially, after the Red Storm earned an impressive 80-68 road victory Tuesday night over the Marquette Golden Eagles at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI. Senior guard Dwight Hardy scored a game-best 28 points for the Johnnies (16-9, 8-5 Big East), who earned their fifth victory in six games. Currently, St. John's is tied for fifth place with the Villanova Wildcats in the Big East standings. Marquette (15-11, 6-7) has lost three of its last four contests.
Tied 38-38 at halftime, the Golden Eagles started the second half with a 7-0 run to take a 45-38 lead with 16:48 to play. St. John's responded with a 15-5 spurt, which featured seniors Hardy, Justin Brownlee, Justin Burrell, D.J. Kennedy, Sean Evans and Malik Boothe each scoring baskets, to earn a 53-50 lead with 11:38 to go. From there, the Red Storm took over and coasted to victory.
St. John's, which led by as much as 13 points with 4:42 remaining, finished 26-of-58 (44.8 percent) from the field and 5-of-14 (35.7) from behind the 3-point line. Kennedy chipped in with 15 points, while Brownlee added 11 points and seven rebounds. Burrell had 10-bench points and collected a team-best 12 rebounds.
Marquette shot 20-of-46 (43.5) on field goals and 3-of-14 from behind the 3-point land. The Golden Eagles kept the game competitive because they shot 25-of-32 (78.1) from the free-throw line. Senior guard Jimmy Butler tallied a team-best 23 points, while Marquette's leading scorer, junior guard Darius Johnson-Odom, netted just 14 points.
The St. John's basketball schedule features the Red Storm host No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday (noon). Next week, St. John's host the DePaul Blue Demons Wednesday (7 p.m.) and at Villanova Saturday (2 p.m.).