Notre Dame and St. John’s opened the BIG EAST portion of the 2011-12 season with impressive wins Tuesday as the Irish beat Pittsburgh for its 28th straight homecourt victory and the Red Storm snapped Providence’s seven game winning streak.
Individually, St. John’s freshman forward Moe Harkless scored 32 points against the Friars – the most by a freshman in his BIG EAST debut in league history. The previous mark of 30 points was set by Georgetown’s Allen Iverson in 1994 and matched by Notre Dame’s Troy Murphy in 1998.
Eight more teams begin BIG EAST play Wednesday, including tough tests for the league’s two unbeaten clubs. Top-ranked Syracuse takes a 13-0 record into a 7 p.m. game against 11-1 Seton Hall at the Carrier Dome, while No. 4/4 Louisville (12-0) hosts No. 12/12 Georgetown (10-1) on ESPN 2 at 7 p.m.
West Virginia and Villanova also meet at 7 p.m. in Morgantown, W.Va., while No. 9/9 Connecticut plays its first road game of the season when it visits USF at 9 p.m. The Huskies will be without coach Jim Calhoun, who begins an NCAA-imposed three-game suspension.