There were 4 games on the Big East slate on Thursday night, with Seton Hall, Providence, Louisville and West Virginia all picking up key victories in conference play.
Seton Hall 74, South Florida 64
The monkey finally comes off their backs, as Seton Hall gets their win this season in Big East play, defeating South Florida 74-64. Seton Hall (11-6, 1-3) had four players score in double figures, with Jeremy Hazell leading the charge with 22 points. Jamar Nutter added 13 points and John Garcia pitched in with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
South Florida (10-8, 1-4) was led by Kentrell Gransberry, who had 21 points and 10 boards. The Bulls doubled-up the Pirates early, leading 12-6 before Seton Hall raced back with a 15-0 run, all coming on 3-pointers, to go up 21-12. The Pirates led at the break 36-30. South Florida would get no closer than three points the entire second half, as they lost their fourth straight game. They’ll try to end their four-game slide on Sunday afternoon when they West Virginia at 2 p.m. Seton Hall returns to action on Saturday night when they host Louisville at 8 p.m.
West Virginia 73 St. John’s 64
With the scored tied at 29 at halftime, West Virginia used 59 percent shooting from the field in the second half to knock off St. John’s 73-64 on Wednesday night. Da’Sean Butler led WVU (13-4, 3-2) with 19 points and Joe Alexander added 15 points. John Flowers and Darris Nichols each finished with 10. The Mountaineers have now won three of their last four.
St. John’s (7-9, 1-4) dropped their third straight despite 15 points off the bench from Larry Wright and 14 points from Anthony Mason Jr. The Red Storm outrebounded the Mountaineers 39-30, but never came closer than six points in the second frame.
It boiled down to a couple big runs by WVU in the first and second half. Down 19-13 in the first half, the Mountaineers went on a 13-2 run to go up 26-21, however St. John’s late 8-3 run closed out the first half at 29 apiece. With just under eight to play in the second half, WVU went on a decisive 19-6 run to led 55-43. The win marks the 15th straight at home for West Virginia. They’ll travel to South Florida on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., while St. John’s will be idle for five days until they return to action next Wednesday, Jan.23rd, when they host Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.
Providence 77 Connecticut 65
Providence pulled off a little bit of shocker in Gampel Pavillion on Wednesday night, defeating Connecticut 77-65. Dwain Williams scored 23 points for the Friars, who hit 14 3-pointers on the night, topping their 13 they hit earlier in the week against South Florida. Williams was 6-of-9 from behind the arc and Brian McKenzie was a perfect 4-of-4 from downtown, finishing with 20 points. Geoff McDermott added 12 points and Jeff Xavier finished with 11. The Friars are officially on a winning streak, having won three straight conference games.
Jeff Adrien led UConn (11-5, 2-3) with 16 points and 15 rebounds, Doug Wiggins had 15 and A.J. Price added 12. The turning point of the game game when Price picked up his fourth foul with just under 13 minutes to go with UConn trailing 43-40. With Price on the bench, Providence (12-5, 3-2) went for the kill, going on a 17-8 run to lead 60-48. Price would return to action, but was unable to spark a Huskie run. UConn couldn’t get the Friars lead under nine points the remainder of the second half. While Providence flourished from 3-point range, UConn floundered, shooting just 4-of-19 from beyond the arc and 24 percent shooting in the second half. The Huskies shot 37 percent for the game, while Providence shot 43 percent. UConn will look to rebound off the home loss with a home victory, when they face off against Marquette on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Providence will have a week off and they’ll return to action next Thursday, Jan. 24th at home against Seton Hall.
Louisville 71 #13 Marquette 51
Don’t look now, but Louisville is healthy and starting to play with a lot consistency. Just ask Marquette, who saw first hand, how dangerous Louisville is becoming. Louisville dominated No.13 Marquette from start to finish, smashing the visiting Golden Eagles 71-51 on Thursday night.
Louisville (13-4, 3-1) shot 49 percent from the field, as Terrence Williams led the way with a game-high 20 points and David Padgett finshed with 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Cardinals, which outscored Marquette 35-12. The Louisville defense limited Marquette to just 30.4 percent shooting and held the Golden Eagles without a 3-point field goal; Marquette went 0-of-12 from beyond the arc. Louisville has won four straight and moved into a 4-way tie atop the Big East standings at 3-1.
Marquette (13-3, 3-2) was reduced to a jump shooting team largely because the tenacious Louisville defense allowed close to zero dribble-drive penatration from the Golden Eagles. Jerel McNeal led Marquette with 16 points and Wesley Matthews finished with 14. As if the brow beating wasn’t bad enough, Marquette lost guard Dominic James in the second half, after James reaggrivated a wrist injury with about six minutes to go. James did not return and finished with a season-low three points. The Golden Eagles also lost the battle on the glass 40-28.
No.13 Marquette will try to rebound on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. when they travel to Connecticut to take on the Huskies. Louisville will aim for their fifth straight win on Saturday night at 8 p.m. against Seton Hall.