Feb. 5, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dwight Hardy scored a career-high 32 points , but was the lone St. John's player in double-figures as UCLA shot 48.6 percent from the field and benefitted from a 41-7 advantage in free throw attempts to defeat the Red Storm, 66-59, at Pauley Pavilion.
"Today you saw a BIG EAST team that played a Pac-10 team that plays like a BIG EAST team," said St. John's first-year head coach Steve Lavin. "It was surreal. I stopped in front of the UCLA bench for a second and Coach Keady said, 'What are you doing? Our bench is down there.'"
One of four Bruins in double-figures, Joshua Smith led UCLA (16-7) with 19 points off the bench. Reeves Nelson added 12 points to go with a career-high 17 rebounds, while Macolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt had 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Hardy, who notched his second 30-point game of the season, was 13-of-24 from the field and 3-of-6 from long range to lead St. John's (13-9). D.J. Kennedy added six points, six rebounds and a career-high six steals, while California-native Dwayne Polee II chipped in six points and four rebounds despite playing just 19 minutes because of foul trouble.
It was Nelson who drained a 3-pointer off an inbounds pass with 34 seconds to play, giving the Bruins a much-needed cushion after they blew most of a 10-point lead over the final five minutes.
Leading 60-50 with 5:04 remaining in regulation UCLA missed 6-of-8 free throws, including four-straight, before Hardy scored off his own steal to bring the Red Storm to within three, 62-59, with 2:06 left. After a series of missed shots by both teams, Nelson's 3-pointer and a Smith free throw closed out the game.
The Bruins opened the second half by making 9-of-11 free throws as part of a 13-6 run that opened up a 42-32 advantage, the game's first double-digit lead for either team.
Hardy got off to a fast start, contributing nine points by the time St. John's jumped out to a 13-4 lead, its biggest of the game, with 12:49 left in the opening frame.
Down 18-11 with 8:08 remaining in the first stanza, UCLA closed the half on an 18-8 run and took a 29-26 lead into the locker room.
While St. John's committed just 10 turnovers and forced UCLA into 18 miscues, the Bruins went to line 41 times compared to just seven for the Red Storm. UCLA made 65.9 percent (27-of-41) of their attempts, while St. John's shot 71.4 percent (5-for-7).
The Red Storm returns to Madison Square Garden on Feb. 10, hosting No. 6/7 Connecticut for a 7 p.m. game televised on ESPN.