Two of the BIG EAST’s six top-25 teams notched victories on Saturday night. The BIG EAST improved to 17-0 this week and 90-18 overall.
No. 12/12 Villanova grabbed a win over Big 5 rival St. Joseph’s 71-60. The victory was the 42nd straight at The Pavilion for the Wildcats. Antonio Pena had 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, while Corey Stokes had a team-high 17 points. Villanova took control with a 13-0 run early in the second half that saw five different Wildcats score. Villanova has beat St. Joseph’s for the 11th time in past 14 games in the series.
Junior guard Kemba Walker notched his first career triple-double as No. 7/9 Connecticut (7-0) defeated UMBC 94-61 at the XL Center in Hartford. Walker scored 24 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out 10 assists, leading the Huskies to a 7-0 start to the season. UConn had six players score in double figures, including freshman Jeremy Lamb who had 13 points, while Alex Oriakhi, Niels Giffey and Roscoe Smith each had 11. Jamal Coombs-McDaniel dropped in 10. The victory was the 830th of head coach Jim Calhoun’s career, tying him with former Mount St. Mary’s coach Jim Phelan for sixth on the career list.
Nine BIG EAST teams are in action on Saturday, with six teams playing at home and three on the road. Five of the BIG EAST’s seven unbeaten teams take to the court, beginning with No. 16/14 Georgetown who battle Utah State on ESPNU at noon. Louisville has a 1 p.m. tip against South Alabama at 1 p.m. on ESPN3.com. No. 3/3 Pittsburgh faces Rider at 2 p.m. on ESPN3.com while Marquette also gets started at 2 p.m. against Longwood. West Virginia hits the road to take on Miami, and Providence takes on intra-state rival Rhode Island on ESPN3.com for a pair of 4 p.m. starts. No. 9/10 Syracuse puts its unbeaten mark on the line against N.C. State at 5:15 p.m. on ESPN2. Cincinnati takes on Toledo in its first road game of the year at 7 p.m. and USF rounds out the schedule against Florida Atlantic at 8 p.m.