Dwight Hardy scored a career-high 33 points, and St. John's took command in the second half in an 89-72 victory over No. 10 Connecticut on Thursday night, the Red Storm's fourth win over a top-13 team this season at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Hardy was coming off a 32-point effort in a loss to UCLA on Saturday.
D.J. Kennedy matched his season high with 20 points and had 11 rebounds for St. John's (14-9, 6-5 Big East), which added Connecticut to a list that includes then-No. 13 Georgetown, then-No. 9 Notre Dame and then-No. 3 Duke, all of whom are currently in the top 10. The Red Storm are 6-1 at the Garden, their second home court.
The Red Storm closed the first half with two three-pointers by Hardy and Malik Boothe, the second a 35-footer banker from straight on as the buzzer sounded for a 35-31 lead.
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Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun walked onto the court complaining that Boothe walked before he shot. Calhoun was called for a technical foul — his first of the season — so St. John's started the second half with two free throws by Hardy, and Kennedy scored on a layup on the ensuing possession.
No. 23 Vanderbilt 81, Alabama 77: Brad Tinsley hit an off-balance jumper with 17 seconds left and added the free throw as the Commodores escaped at home. Vanderbilt (17-6, 5-4) has won the first two games of a three-game homestand with No. 18 Kentucky visiting Saturday to remain knotted with three others for second in the Southeastern Conference East.
Eastern Kentucky 77, Southeast Missouri State 64: Justin Stommes and Spencer Perrin scored 20 points apiece and fueled the hot-shooting Colonels, who hit 57 percent from the floor. Stommes shot 7-for-10 overall and 4-for-5 from three-point range, and Perrin, a Boyle County graduate, went 8-for-11 from the floor and grabbed nine rebounds for EKU (14-11, 8-6 Ohio Valley Conference).
Morehead State 81, Eastern Illinois 65: Kenneth Faried had 18 points and 13 rebounds for his 20th double-double of the season to lead the host Eagles, who won their fifth straight and remained one game behind first-place Murray State in the OVC. Both teams have five games remaining before the league tournament. Morehead (18-8, 10-4) plays at Murray (19-6, 11-3) in the second-to-last game of the season Feb. 24. The matchup will be televised on ESPNU.
The Racers beat Tennessee Tech 55-44 Thursday.
Middle Tennessee State 69, Western Kentucky 60: James Washington scored 24 points, and the visiting Blue Raiders held off a late charge. Middle (13-12, 8-4 Sun Belt Conference) led by 17 points with 6:27 left to play, but the Hilltoppers (10-13, 5-6) cut the deficit to six during the final minute. It was too late as Middle Tennessee beat WKU for the third straight time.
Kentucky Wesleyan 53, Northern Kentucky 52: Karly Rhoads' three-pointer capped a game-ending 7-0 run, and Kentucky Wesleyan won at Northern Kentucky for the first time in history. NKU had been 27-0 at home in the series.
NKU (14-9, 8-7 Great Lakes Valley Conference) had a chance in the final seconds, but Kourtney Rhoads — Karly's sister — blocked Stephanie Hodges' shot from the corner and grabbed the rebound as time ran out.
Katie Behrens led Kentucky Wesleyan (14-8, 8-7 with 18 points. Casse Mogan had 14 for NKU, which didn't score in the final 4:48.
Southeast Missouri State 64, Eastern Kentucky 57: Host EKU trimmed a 12-point deficit to one in the second half but never gained the lead in the Ohio Valley Conference loss. Freshman Marie Carpenter had a career-high 29 points for the Colonels (6-17, 3-11), who missed 10 of their first 11 shots and didn't make their second field goal until the 9:42 mark of the first half. Brittany Harriel scored 23 points for the Redhawks (8-15, 4-9).
Eastern Illinois 80, Morehead State 75: The Panthers outrebounded the host Eagles by 20 and doubled the Eagles on second-chance points to hand Morehead its second straight OVC loss. The Eagles (17-8, 10-4) were led by senior Chynna Bozeman, who scored 18 points, leaving her one shy of 2,000 for her career. MSU led 39-36 at halftime.