Dwight Hardy scored 20 points to lead St. John's to an 81-71 victory over host West Virginia in the Big East opener for both teams in Morgantown.
The Red Storm (8-3) grabbed the lead early in the first half and used a balanced attack offensively to take a six-point lead into halftime. The largest lead for either team was a 14-point St. John's lead late in the second half.
Twice in the second half, West Virginia (8-3) cut the Red Storm's lead to three points, and both times Justin Brownlee came up with a big bucket to slow down the Mountaineers' momentum. In the first half, St. John's held West Virginia to just 30-percent shooting, while converting on 50 percent of its shots.
The Mountaineers also had a hard time stopping St. John's in transition, as the Red Storm scored 10 points off fast breaks and dominated in the paint, outscoring the Mountaineers 40-6.
Brownlee and D.J. Kennedy scored 17 points each for St. John's, while Justin Burrell was also in double figures, scoring 13 points.
Kevin Jones led the way for West Virginia with 17 points.
Storm women lose to Maryland
Diandra Tchatchouang scored 15 of her 19 points in the first half, and No. 18 Maryland beat No. 17 St. John's, 66-60, yesterday to win the Terrapin Classic in College Park, Md. The Terrapins (12-1) never trailed in their 11th straight victory.
Eugeneia McPherson of North Babylon scored 25 and Da'Shena Stevens added 15 for St. John's (12-2), which was playing a ranked team for the first time this season. Maryland ended the Red Storm's 11-game winning streak. The Red Storm made just two of its first 16 field-goal attempts but never trailed by more than seven in the first half. - AP