for this game

St. John's knocks off Villanova

Feb 27, 2011 - 12:49 AM Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Dwight Hardy poured in a career-high 34 points as 25th-ranked St. John's fended off 15th-ranked Villanova, 81-68, at the Wells Fargo Center.

"For me, it's just being aggressive," Hardy said about his recent string of high-scoring games. "Just staying focused on both ends of the floor and when I don't hesitate, I can be a very dangerous player. I've been in a groove and I just want to keep going."

Hardy has scored at least 30 points in three of his last seven games, at least 20 five times in that stretch and no fewer than 18 since February 2.

D.J. Kennedy provided 12 points and 14 rebounds while Paris Horne totaled 12 points and five rebounds for the Red Storm (19-9, 11-5 Big East), who earned their sixth win over a ranked foe, matching Texas for the most by any team in the country this season.

Justin Brownlee supplied 11 points and eight boards as the visitors beat Villanova for the first time since February 11, 2003, ending a six-game skid.

Corey Stokes netted 20 points, and Maalik Wayns chipped in 19 points and five assists for the Wildcats (21-8, 9-7), who have dropped four of their last six games.

"I feel like we're getting a little bit better, believe it or not, but not good enough for this league," Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. "If we didn't play a Syracuse, St. John's or a Pitt, it might show. But it's not good enough right now for this league."

Horne's triple started and his pull-up jumper from the foul line finished a 16-2 run that gave St. John's an 18-4 lead inside of 15 minutes to go in the first half.

Stokes' three-pointer brought the Wildcats to within 34-27 with 6:12 to go in the half before a Kennedy jumper and Horne trifecta extended the margin back to 12.

Three Wayns free throws in the final 86 seconds sliced St. John's lead to 41-36 at the intermission.

Trailing by as many as nine early in the second half, Villanova drew within 55-50 with 14:14 remaining in the game as Stokes wrapped two triples around a Hardy jumper.

Another Stokes' three-pointer shaved the margin to 63-61 with 6:16 to play and a three-point play by Wayns made it 65-64 St. John's with four minutes to go.

Hardy then hit a pair of foul shots and a fallaway baseline jumper to push the lead back to 70-64 with just under 2 1/2 minutes to play.

Kennedy hit 1-of-2 at the line and a driving layup to make it 73-65 Red Storm with 1:28 remaining. St. John's then sewed up the victory at the foul line, making 8-of-10 over the final 65 seconds.

Game Notes

St. John's has won seven straight conference games for the first time since 1999-2000...Hardy was 9-for-16 from the floor and 11-of-13 at the line...He was 5-for-9 from three-point territory...St. John's made 10-of-22 from beyond the arc, while Villanova was 9-for-29 from long distance...This was the Red Storm's first game as a ranked team since the 2000-01 season...St. John's last road win against a ranked team was January 17, 2002 over then-22nd- ranked Boston College...Six of Stokes' seven makes were from beyond the arc...Meanwhile, Corey Fisher was 0-for-8 from long distance and 1-for-10 overall in scoring only two points...He did dish out seven assists. Dominic Cheek added 11 points in the loss...The Wildcats finish their season at Notre Dame and Pittsburgh while St. John's closes against Seton Hall and South Florida.