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 January 25, 2013

Prairie State College men’s basketball coach Mike Manderino isn’t one to haphazardly throw around compliments. Simply put, if the Pioneers’ bench boss takes the time to say something positive about one of his players, rest assured it was well-deserved.

Sophomore point guard Tim Hardy (Thornridge H.S.) earned high praise from Manderino Thursday night.

Hardy, PSC’s most skilled ball-handler and one of the top point men in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference, for the second straight contest, turned in an outstanding offensive output.

Hardy’s career-high 28-point effort helped vault the Pioneers to an 81-53 victory over Skyway counterpart Elgin in Chicago Heights.

“Tim Hardy adds a new dimension to our team when he scores,” Manderino said. “He’s done an outstanding job here the last two games and has really stepped up his game.”

The 5-foot-9 Hardy’s previous high-water scoring mark of 24 came in his team’s 91-61 win over McHenry Tuesday night.

Hardy shot 9-of-17 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. He also canned a trio of three-pointers, all of which came in the opening half.

Lost in the shadow of Hardy’s efforts was the 14-point outing delivered by freshman forward Joe Hughes (Thornwood H.S.). Hughes’ efforts helped lock up his 20th consecutive double-digit scoring performance of the slate.

Freshman forward Robert Culver (Tinley Park H.S.) narrowly missed his first career double-double thanks to 10-point, nine-rebound outing.

Sophomore forward DeMarques Heard (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.), (9 points, 7 rebounds) and freshman guard Geray Bagby (Thornridge H.S.), (8 points, 5 rebounds) both made strong contributions.

Elgin hung tough throughout the tilt’s first 20 minutes, as PSC held a slim 36-29 lead at halftime.

PSC outscored the Spartans 45-24 in the second half and attained its largest advantage at 76-44 following a layup from Culver with 3:33 to go.

The Pioneers (13-8, 3-2) forced 20 Elgin turnovers in the contest.

The Pioneers will hit the floor next on Tuesday when they host league rival Moraine Valley (7 p.m.).

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