Big East Roundup


Posted Feb 7, 2010


News, notes and updates from the Big East basketball conference.

TIGHTENING UP

Things got tighter at the top of the league as Villanova lost to Georgetown, and WVU rallied to defeat St. John's. Syracuse and the Wildcats now hold just a one-game lead over the Mountaineers in the league standings. The reace for the fourth spot and its double-bye bonus int he Big East tournament is also a hot one. Seven teams are separated by just one game in the loss column in the battle for that position.


STREAKING

Coming in to this season, USF had never won back-to-back Big East games. The Bulls ran their streak to four with their win over Georgetown on Wednesday. The last two of those wins have come over ranked teams (Pitt, Georgetown) and put the Bulls into contention for an at-large NCAA berth.


AT THE TOP

With four league teams in the top eight, another in the top 25 and two other teams receiving votes, the Big East continues its dominance as the best league in the country. Eleven league teams still have legitimate shots at an NCAA berth.


CINCINNATI
Reserve guard Larry Davis was the team’s top scorer with 12 points in the loss at Notre Dame. The 18-point defeat was UC’s largest of the season. The Bearcats, who were seventh nationally in rebound margin, were beaten on the boards 41-32.

Guard Deonta Vaughn, who made a pair of 3-pointers against the Irish, has 162 for his career in Big East games. That total places him ninth on the league’s alltime 3-point list. Boston College’s Troy Bell (1999-03) is eighth with 165. Villanova’s Kerry Kittles (1992-96) and Seton Hall’s Terry Dehere (1989-93) are tied for sixth with 166. Cincinnati hosts Syracuse on Sunday. SU holds a 4-2 edge over the Bearcats in Big East play, including an 87-63 win last season at the Carrier Dome. Two seasons ago at Fifth Third Arena, UC won 74-66.


CONNECTICUT
Guard Jerome Dyson scored a team-high 20 points in the win over DePaul which ended a three-game losing streak. He collected 10 of his points from the foul line in 11 attempts. UConn was 25-of-35 from the foul line while the Blue Demons were 1-of-6.

Dyson is averaging 19.0 points per game to rank fourth in the Big East. Guard Kemba Walker is first in assists with a 5.9 average. Forward Alex Oriakhi is the team’s top rebounder with a 7.7 mark. He is the only freshman in the Big East to lead his team in rebounding.

UConn plays at Syracuse on Wednesday. The Huskies have won seven of the last eight regular-season meetings, but the Orange have taken the last four Big East Championship matchups which have occurred over the last five years.


DEPAUL
The Blue Demons had a 52-51 lead with less than six minutes to go at Connecticut, but could not come away with a victory. Guard Will Walker scored a game-high 24 points. He was 6-of-9 from 3-point range. With his 24-point effort, he passed three players and moved into 23rd place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,239 points. Walker played all 40 minutes for the sixth time in his last seven games. He has missed only 11 minutes in the last 10 games.

Walker leads the team in scoring with a 16.5 average. He is first in the Big East in minutes played (37.2). The Blue Demons are off until a Feb. 14 date at Seton Hall. DePaul is 1-2 against the Pirates in Big East play. Last year, the Hall won 72-49 at Allstate Arena.


GEORGETOWN
The Hoyas used a 21-5 run midway through the first half to build a 50-31 halftime lead in its win over Villanova. GU maintained an edge of at least 10 points for the remainder of the contest.

Guard Austin Freeman scored a game-high 25 points and guard Jason Clark tallied a career-high 24 points. Freeman has scored at least 20 points in his last four games and reached double figures in his last 16 contests.

Freeman is the team’s top scorer with a 16.8 average. Center Greg Monroe follows at 15.5 and leads in rebounding at 9.6. The Hoyas play at Providence on Tuesday. The two teams have split their last 12 contests.


LOUISVILLE
Guard Jerry Smith lead a balanced scoring attack with 16 points and forward Samardo Samuels contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Rutgers. Smith was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Reserve forward Jared Swopshire added 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The Cardinals outshot the Scarlet Knights from the fl oor 54.3 percent to 38.3 percent. Samuels leads the team in scoring (15.7) and rebounding (7.5).

The Cardinals play St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Louisville has won the last four meetings between the two teams, including a 75-68 decision last month at Freedom Hall. Smith led UofL with 16 points. After St. John’s, Louisville visits Syracuse on Sunday.


MARQUETTE
Forward Lazar Hayward posted 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals in the win at Providence. He moved into ninth place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,671 points. Former teammate Wesley Matthews is eighth with 1,673 points.

Forward Jimmy Butler added 19 points and seven rebounds. MU outshot PC from the fl oor, 51.7 percent to 47.1 percent. The Golden Eagles are 29-0 under coach Buzz Williams when outshooting their opponent.

Hayward is the team’s top scorer (18.6) and rebounder (7.8). After losing its first four Big East road games by a total of nine points, MU has won the last two road contests by a total of five points. Marquette is off until Saturday when it hosts USF.


NOTRE DAME
Forward Luke Harangody produced 37 points and 14 rebounds in the victory over Cincinnati which avenged a 60-58 loss to the Bearcats on Jan. 16. Forward Tim Abromaitis scored 22 points. Guard Ben Hansbrough added 12 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

Harangody leads the Big East in scoring with a 24.8 average in all games. For his Big East career, Harangody vaulted from seventh to fourth place on the league’s all-time scoring list with 1,292 points. Seton Hall’s Terry Dehere (1989-93) is third with 1,320 points. Harangody is second on the all-time rebounding list with 639. Syracuse’s Derrick Coleman (1986-90) is first at 701.


PITTSBURGH
Forward Gilbert Brown, who was scoreless in Wednesday’s loss at West Virginia, scored a game-high 23 points in the win over visiting Seton Hall. The Panthers held Seton Hall’s Jeremy Hazell to two points on 1-of-7 shooting. Hazell entered the game with a 23.0 scoring average.

Guard Jermaine Dixon led four other players in double figures with 15 points. The Panthers outshot the Pirates from the fl oor 51.7 percent to 35.7 percent. Pitt hosts Robert Morris on Monday. In last year’s meeting, the Panthers won 92-72.


PROVIDENCE
Forward Jamine Peterson scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss to Marquette. It was his leagueleading 13th double-double of the season. Center Bilal Dixon added 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. The Friars held a 39-29 rebounding edge over the Golden Eagles. Guard Sharaud Curry scored 23 points and moved into 13th place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,481 career points. Freshman guard Vincent Council had nine points and seven assists. With 101 assists for the season, he is the first PC freshman to reach 100 assists since Donnie McGrath in 2002-03.

The Friars host Georgetown Tuesday. PC’s next four foes are ranked in the top 10.


RUTGERS
Forwards Jonathan Mitchell and Dane Miller paced the Scarlet Knights with 17 points and seven rebounds apiece in the loss at Louisville. Mitchell also had seven assists and did not committ a turnover in 40 minutes. Guard Mike Rosario scored 13 points, but the Louisville defense held him to 5-of-16 shooting from the fl oor, including 1-of-8 from 3-point range.

Center Hamady Ndiaye finished with 10 points and seven rebounds but did not have a blocked shot. In Wednesday’s win over St. John’s, he had nine rejections, the most by Rutgers player in a Big East game. Ndiaye still leads the Big East in blocked shots with a 4.7 average.

Rutgers steps out of league play with a game against Caldwell on Tuesday.


SETON HALL
Guard Jeremy Hazell, who scored 32 points in Tuesday’s loss at Villanova, was held to two points in Saturday’s defeat at Pittsburgh. He was 1-of-7 from the field. Guard Eugene Harvey had 12 points while forward Robert Mitchell and guard Jamel Jackson each added 11. Forward Herb Pope finished with nine ponts and six rebounds while fouling out in 20 minutes. He still leads the Big East in rebounding with a 10.9 average.

Hazell has made 142 career 3-pointers in Big East games, second among active players. The Hall hosts Notre Dame on Thursday. The Irish have taken the last six meetings. The Pirates’ last win was 78-72 at home on Feb. 5, 2003.


ST. JOHN'S
The Red Storm had a 33-22 lead at haltime against visiting West Virginia, but were outscored 57-27 in the second half of Saturday’s loss.

Swingman D.J. Kennedy, who scored a career-high 27 points at Rutgers last Wednesday, was limited to four points on 2-of-11 shooting. Guard Paris Horne was the only starter to reach double figures, scoring 12 points. Forward Justin Burrell came off the bench to supply 12 points and eight rebounds. The Red Storm starters managed only 27 points while WVU’s scored 72.

The Red Storm host Louisville on Thursday. St. John’s won the first Big East meeting between the two teams 68-56 at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 17, 2006. Louisville has taken the last four meetings, including a 75-68 decision at Freedom Hall last month. Kennedy led STJ with 20 points.


SYRACUSE
A victory over Providence gave the Orange their best start in school history. Reserve foward Kris Joseph came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Center Arinze Onuaku contributed 20 points on 10- of-12 shooting. He also had seven rebounds and four blocked shots.

Forward Wes Johnson was injured in a fall in the first half and played only 22 minutes, scoring eight points. SU held Providence to 43.1 percent shooting from the field. In all 21 victories this season, SU has outshot its opponent.

The Orange play at Cincinnati on Sunday. SU holds a 4-2 edge in the series over the Bearcats. All of the games have been played since UC joined the Big East.


USF
Guard Dominique Jones scored 22 of his 29 points in the second half when the Bulls rallied from a 35-26 halftime deficit to win at Georgetown. The Bulls extended their record Big East winning streak to four games and have beaten a ranked opponent in each of the past two contests (Pitt last Sunday). The win over Georgetown was the highest ranked opponent USF has beaten in school history. The Bulls have five Big East wins for the first time since joining the league in 2005-06.

Jones leads the Big East in scoring in league games at 27.0 ppg and is averaging 35.0 ppg in the last four games.

USF plays at Notre Dame on Sunday. The Bulls lost to the Irish 74-73 at home on Jan. 5. Jones had 26 points.


VILLANOVA
Saturday’s loss at Georgetown ended an 11-game winning streak. The Wildcats trailed 50-31 at halftime. Guards Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher each scored 24 points. Forward Antonio Pena was limited by foul trouble. He fouled out in 11 minutes and finished with only seven points and three rebounds.

The Wildcats’ 9-0 Big East start was tied for the fifth best in league history. VU has won 20 of its last 23 Big East regular-season games.

The Wildcats travel to West Virginia on Monday in the first of two regularseason meetings between the two teams. In Big East regular-season play, the teams have split 16 meetings. They will play again in the regular-season finale March 6 at the Wachovia Center.


WEST VIRGINIA
The Mountaineers overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to beat St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. WVU has a six-game winning streak. West Virginia used an effective 1-3-1 zone defense in the second half and outscored the Red Storm 57-27. Forward Da’Sean Butler scored a season-high 33 points and was 7-of-7 from 3-point range, which tied a Big East record set by Marquette’s Jerel McNeal last season against Cincinnati on Jan. 4, 2009.

In league play, WVU is first in scoring defense, yielding only 62.3 ppg. The Mountaineers host Villanova on Monday. WVU beat the Wildcats 93-72 at home last season.



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