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February 14, 2011St. John's senior guard Dwight Hardy was named BIG EAST Player of the Week for the second time this season, as announced by the conference on Monday.
Hardy led St. John's to wins over then-No. 10/9 Connecticut and an important road victory in the league at Cincinnati. He averaged 25.5 points on 17-of-32 shooting, good for 53.1 percent from the field. He also drilled 9-of-15 attempts from 3-point range (60 percent) and fired at a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe. Hardy grabbed eight rebounds, the most among Red Storm guards, and dished four assists.
The Bronx, N.Y., native set a new career high with his 33 points, including a career-high-tying five three-pointers, in an 89-72 win over UConn at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. Hardy scored 21 of his points in the second half, as he helped break open a four-point halftime lead into a 17-point final margin. On Saturday, Hardy was deadly from long range again, hitting 4-of-7 from beyond the arc on his way to a game-high 18 points.
Hardy was honored by the BIG EAST twice in January, named the BIG EAST Player of the Week for the week ending on Jan. 2, and selected for the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the week ending on Jan. 30. Hardy was the first Red Storm player named to that honor since 2005 when Darryl Hill was selected. Earlier this season, classmate Justin Brownlee was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll on Nov. 29.
Bolstered by its 2-0 week and its fourth Top 25 victory of the season in toppling UConn, St. John's is again receiving votes in the latest national polls, also announced Monday. The Red Storm earned 26 points in the Associated Press Poll, ranking 31st nationally, and five votes in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll, ranking 34th.
The Red Storm also received national poll votes on Jan. 10, 17 and 31 in 2010-11, and for five weeks during the 2009-10 season. The last time St. John's was ranked in the AP Top 25 was on Nov. 28, 2000, at No. 24.
Pretty wins on some nights and gritty wins others have added up to a 7-5 mark in BIG EAST conference play for St. John's, which gives the Red Storm a share of fifth place in the league standings. With a 15-9 record that includes six wins away from home and a 3-3 road record in BIG EAST play, St. John's is currently No. 17 in the RPI report according to RPIRatings.com, with the second-strongest schedule in the nation.
The Red Storm continues its road trip by traveling to Marquette for a 9 p.m. contest on Feb. 15. The matchup will be nationally televised on ESPNU.