Once is accident. Two is a trend. Three became a problem on Saturday afternoon for No.13 UConn against Big East foe Villanova.
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Once is accident. Two is a trend. Three became a problem on Saturday afternoon for No.13 UConn against Big East foe Villanova.
Five players scored in double figures, as West Viriginia handed Rutgers their fifth consecutive loss 81-63 on Thursday night. The Mountaineers have struggled of late, winning for just the second time in their last five outings. West Virginia led 42-27 at the break and Rutgers never threatened in the second half. Rutgers couldn’t keep a hold of the basketball, committing 17 turnovers that resulted in 29 easy points for the Mountaineers, who turned the ball over just four times.
The Golden Eagles swarmed the Panthers, using a 17-0 run early as the second half began and No.25 Marquette routed No.24 Pittsburgh on Friday night, 72-54. Jerel McNeal had 17 points for Marquette, and while Dominic James was held to just five points, he dished out an array of beautiful assists, 12 in all, and James didn’t turn the ball over once.
Pittsburgh got a huge emotional boost, returning guard Levance Fields to the lineup, who missed the last 12 games with a broken left foot. Fields, as expected, struggled to get his legs under him the first time out, shooting 1-of-7 from the field for four points. Sam Young led the Panthers with 18 points. Pittsburgh had a hand in helping Marquette during their 17-0 run, committing eight turnovers in the opening nine minutes of the second half and misfiring on nine of their first 11 shot attempts. The Golden Eagles dominated the Panthers in the paint as well, pounding Pittsburgh 16-2 in the lane. Freshman DeJuan Blair was silenced, finishing with just six points and five rebounds, and it was a tough night as well for Ronald Ramon, who had four points on 1-of-7 shooting. Overall, Marquette’s defense limited Pittsburgh to 37 percent shooting from the field. The Golden Eagles picked up their first win against a ranked opponent this season.
No.17 UConn 84 No.18 Notre Dame 76
A.J. Price left Notre Dame with more questions than answers after Wednesday night, as Price led No.17 UConn past No.18 Notre Dame 84-76 in the match up of the week in the Big East. The Huskies survived another dominating performance by Irish forward Luke Harangody, who had 32 points and 16 rebounds in the game.
Price dished out nine assists to go along with his 26 points, and he connected on four 3-pointers and shot 10-of-19 from the field. Jeff Adrien added 13 points and nine boards and Craig Austie added 14, but it was Austrie at the defensive end matched up against Irish guard Kyle McAlarney that made the difference. McAlarney was held to just 12 points this time around, after buring UConn (19-5, 8-3) for 32 in the first meeting earlier this season. The Irish were unable to get other players on track aside from Harangody and head coach Mike Brey couldn’t find someone to step up in place of McAlarney. UConn’s defense in the second half held Notre (18-5, 8-3) Dame to 33 percent shooting
South Florida 89 Syracuse 78
As impressive as UConn’s victory over Notre Dame was, South Florida stole the show on Wednesday night, shocking Syracuse 89-78 behind the duo of Kentrell Gransberry and Dominique Jones. Gransberry had 23 and nine rebounds and Jones scored a game-high 29 points. South Florida (11-15, 2-11)blew a 16-point to DePaul in their last contest, but used a 20-1 run down the stretch to run away from the Orange. Donte Greene led Syracuse (17-9, 7-6) with 17 points and Jonny Flynn added 16. Flynn has now logged 40 minutes in each of the last six games.
Cincinnati 60 St. John’s 43
Cincinnati surpassed their win total from a year ago with a 60-43 win over St. John’s. John Williamson led the Bearcats with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Cincinnati (12-12, 7-5) held St John’s a terrible night shooting, making just 12 field goals the entire game, five of which came from beyond the arc. The Red Storm (10-14, 4-9) shot just 5-of-22 in the 1st half, and had their three game winning streak snapped in the process. The Bearcats find themselves currently in the thick of the Big East Tournament picture.
No.23 Louisville 88 DePaul 68
Terrence Williams matched his season high of 22 points and David Padgett added 20 to help No.23 Louisville cruise past DePaul 88-68. The Cardinals once again used a stifling defense to win their fourth straight, holding DePaul to 37 percent shooting. Louisville (19-6, 9-3) jumped all over DePaul early, leading 23-8, and led 37-21 before DePaul’s 10-2 cut the lead to 39-31 at the half. Dar Tucker’s 22 points off the bench couldn’t help the Blue Demons (10-14, 5-7) avoid their fifth loss in the last six games, and the Blue Demons are clinging to life in the playoff picture in the Big East, sitting in the 11th spot.
No.25 Marquette 89 Seton Hall 64
No doubt about this one, the Golden Eagles made it look effort-less against Seton Hall. Marquette smothered the Pirates (15-10, 5-7) early and often, scoring the game’s first 15 points and leading 21-4 after just seven minutes of action. Marquette (17-6, 7-5) led 40-22 at halftime, putting this one away in the first 20-minute frame. Lazard Hayward led four Marquette players in double figures with 23 and a game-high nine boards. The Golden Eagles pounded on the Pirates 43-29 on the glass. Jeremy Hazell led Seton Hall with 18 points and Brian Laing finished with 17 and pulled down just three rebounds. Marquette sweeps the season series with Seton Hall, and the Golden Eagles are winners of four of their last six.
No. 24 Pittsburgh 82 Providence 63
Providence hung around in the first half, trailing by five at the break, as the Friars wouldn’t allow the Panthers to run and hide. Then, the second half came.
Pittsburgh held Providence to just six points in the first 11 minutes of action in the second half, allowing Pittsburgh to pull away from Providence 82-63. Sam Young’s career-high 22 points propelled the Panthers (19-5, 7-4) to their 14th home win of the season and Ronald Ramon and DeJuan Blair finished with 15 points apiece. It hasn’t been pretty for Providence (13-11, 4-8) lately. They’ve lost six of their last seven, and are now winless against Pittsburgh in their last eight tries. To make matters worse, the loss drops the Friars to 1-6 on the road this season in the Big East.
Sorry Villanova fans, I feel for you, I really do.
The Wildcats’ most recent defeat to No.8 Georgetown signaled the end of Rivalry Week, but it wasn’t without some dramatics. It was everything you’d expect. Two big time rivals going head-to-head, with the memory of 1985 still fresh in everyone’s minds.
As difficult as wins are to get in the Big East, the Wildcats nearly pulled off the upset over the Hoyas, a win that would given the Wildcats confidence, but new life going into the last leg of their schedule. But instead, for the sixth time in the last seven games, the Wildcats were left with an empty and losing feeling.
Villanova guard Corey Stokes was whistled for a foul on Georgetown guard Jonathan Wallace with 0.1 seconds left in the game, and Wallace walked almost 70 feet the other, sunk both free throws and rescued Georgetown from the upset. At first, I thought the whistle was blown because Wallace had stepped out of bounds, but it became apparent that the official signaled Stokes for a foul.
There’s a couple ways to look at this, but ultimately that was an awfully touchy call to make in such a crucial point in the game. Certainly, you don’t hear any of the Hoyas refuting the call and rightfully so. A win is a win is a win, and Georgetown was damn lucky to pull out the victory. But I’m sorry, on a good, chilly day along the East coast in February, there are strong winds that have bumped or nudged Wallace harder than Stokes did.
What’s lost in all this is the fact that I have no clue how in the world Villanova was in the game. They shot 25 percent in the game. They were 4-of-31 shooting in the second half, and went 1-of-21 in the final 12 minutes of the game. And still, Scottie Reynolds had a chance to win it on Villanova’s last possession of the game. Again I’ll state: Villanova shot 13 percent in the second half, and STILL almost won.
From the Georgetown side of things, this may be the most perplexing win of the season. How they held Villanova to such a putrid night shooting from the field, especially holding them to one field goal in the last 12 minutes, and still came away with the win is head scratching. Sometimes it’s just better to be lucky than good, and the zebras helped bail out the Hoyas in the end.
Big East Fans is proud to announce that they will be providing 2008 Big East Basketball Tournament updates this season. The Big East Tournament will be held March 12-15 at Madison Square Garden in New York with the winner receiving the Big East’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Big East Fans will be providing Big East Tournament schedules, scores and updates throughout the 2008 Tournament beginning with march 12 games and through the Big East Tournament Championship Game on March 15th.
- Louisville 71, #16 Marquette 57
- St. Joseph’s 77, Villanova 55
- #6 Georgetown 63, South Florida 53
- Providence 79, DePaul 65
- #19 UConn 63, Syracuse 61
- #22 Notre Dame 95, Seton Hall 69
- St.John’s 52, Rutgers 45
- #25 Pittsburgh 55, West Virginia 54
Friday, Feb 8th. - No games scheduled
Coming down the home stretch during Rivalry Week, entering Big East play on Saturday, Georgetown, Notre Dame and UConn all went 2-0 dating back to last Saturday, Feb.2nd. For the all the success the previously mentioned teams are having, DePaul, Villanova and Seton Hall posted goose eggs in the win column.
Beasts of the Big East
#6 Georgetown- defeated Seton Hall last Saturday 73-61, then followed up with a 10-point win against South Florida on Tuesday, 63-53. While the Hoyas needed to rally from 10 points down, they pulled away late for the win and remain on top of the Big East standings at 9-1.
#22 Notre Dame. Hot on the heels of the Hoyas are the Irish, who matched Georgetown by going 2-0 as well. With wins over DePaul last Saturday 89-80 and mauling Seton Hall on Wednesday 95-69, the Irish remain just one game behind Georgetown in second place in the Big East at 7-2.
UConn - No team is hotter in the Big East right now. The Huskies pulled out a tough, physical match up a week ago against Pitt, 60-53, and followed up one hard nosed win with another, knocking off arch rival Syracuse on Wednesday 63-61. In their two wins this week, they’ve only surrendered an average of 57 points per game, and find themselves inside the Top 25 polls, riding a five game win streak and third in the Big East.
DePaul- They played Notre Dame close, losing 89-80, but close doesn’t cut the mustard in the Big East. The Blue Demons suffered their second straight loss this week on Tuesday, losing 79-65 to Providence. DePaul has lost lost four straight, three on the road, since winning consecutive games over Rutgers and Florida Gulf Coast.
Seton Hall- After winning five in a row, the Pirates have had a power outage this week. Thought they lost to the best two teams in the Big East ( 73-61 loss to Georgetown, 95-69 loss to Notre Dame), Seton Hall has only averaged 65 points in the two losses.
Villanova-Since starting 13-3, the Wildcats have lost five straight and went 0-2 this week, losing to Syracuse last weekend and getting hammered against Big Five rival St. Joe’s on Monday, 77-55. An alarming stat this week for Villanova: they’ve given up an average of 82 points in both losses, while only scoring an average of 64.
Notre Dame was able to outlast Providence in overtime 81-74 on Thursday night, behind 31 points and 14 rebounds from Luke Harangody. Ryan Ayers picked up the slack with 10 points, as well as Tory Jackson, who added 14. Jackson and Ayers elevated the Irish offense without Kyle McAlarney and Rob Kurz, who were 5-of-19 combined shooting for 19 points.
Despite five players in double figures, with Dwain Williams leading the way with 20, Providence lost this one at the free throw line. The Friars were just 6-of-16 from the line, with center Ray Hall struggling the most, going 2-of-10 from the line. Hall had a chance to put Providence up four with a minute left but bricked a one-and-one chance from the line. After a couple Irish misses, Providence appeared poised to win, but Harangody came up with a huge steal from Geoff McDermott and Harangody sunk both from the line to tie the game up at 61, forcing overtime.
The Irish outscored Providence 20-13 in the overtime frame, using a timely 14-5 run in the overtime session to pull away with the victory. Providence had this one, and essentially beat themselves with their poor free throw shooting. They outrebounded Notre Dame 48-38 and surprisingly with the prescence of Harangody, dominated the paint, outscoring Notre Dame 36-26. However, in the Big East, on the road, 6 free throws out of 16 won’t get it done.
Scoreboard for Monday, Jan.28th
UConn 69, Louisville 67
The Huskies prevail on Big Monday behind a big night from guard A.J. Price, who poured in 20 points. UConn pounded Louisville on the glass, winning the rebounding advantage 40-29. Very uncharacteristic night for Louisville. The Cardinals jacked up 33 3-point attempts, connecting on 11; Juan Palacios and Terrence Williams combined to hoist 17 3’s. UConn played with a short bench, due to suspensions to Doug Wiggins and Jerome Dyson last week. The frontcourt duo of Stanley Robinson and Jeff Adrien combined for 28 points and 20 rebounds to help UConn to win their 4th straight.
Tuesday, Jan.29th - #17 Marquette 62, South Florida 52
With Jerel McNeal and Dominic James struggling, Lazar Hayward scored 23 points and Wesley Matthews dropped in 16 to help Marquette past South Florida. McNeal was held to six points, James managed only three for the Golden Eagles. In a surprising twist, (not really) Kentrell Gransberry turned in another double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds, but the Bulls were unable to overcome an eight-point halftime defict.
Wednesday scoreboard - Jan.30th
- #6 Georgetown 74 St. John’s 42
- #18Pittsburgh 69 Villanova 57
- Syracuse 60 DePaul 55
- Cincinnati 62 West Virginia 39
- Seton Hall 84 Rutgers 71