Nine BIG EAST teams took the court on Saturday, coming away with a 7-2 record to improve to 24-2 this week versus non-conference opponents. BIG EAST teams are 97-20 (.829) versus non-conference opponents and 68-2 at home (.971).
No. 14/16 Georgetown (8-0) handled Utah State 68-51 at home in early action on Saturday. The Hoyas, who were averaging more than 11 3-pointers per game, were just 2-of-9 from behind the arc in the contest but used solid defense and great rebounding to earn the victory. Chris Wright helped lead a dominant second-half run, finishing the game with 21 points and four steals. Georgetown used full-court pressure to force 12 turnovers in 13 minutes in the second frame, as the Hoyas went on a 17-2 run to open the half and pull away from the Aggies. The win marks the second-straight season the Hoyas have started 8-0.
No. 7/8 Syracuse (8-0) held off N.C. State 65-59 at the Carrier Dome. The Orange trailed by six points midway through the second half, but stifling defense held the Wolfpack without a basket for the final 7:20 to remain unbeaten. Scoop Jardine led the team with 23 points, while Rick Jackson had 16 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Kris Joesph keyed the Orange defense, holding North Carolina State’s sharpshooter Scott Wood to 0-of-3 shooting in the final two minutes while grabbing two rebounds.
Providence (8-1) defeated intrastate rival Rhode Island 87-74 in front of a sold out crowd at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. Senior forward Marshon Brooks had 26 points while sophomore guard Vincent Council flirted with a triple-double to help the Friars to the win. Council had 17 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds as four players scored at-least 12 points. Sophomore center Bilal Dixon had a career-high six blocks and pulled down 12 rebounds. A 15-3 run in the second half put the game away for Providence, who started the season 8-1 for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
No. 3/3 Pittsburgh improved to 9-0 with an 87-68 win over Rider. The Panthers improved to 81-1 against non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center where the the team is 138-11 overall. Brad Wanamaker notched a double-double with 16 points and 11 assists, while Ashton Gibbs also contributed 16 points to help Pitt to its 53rd consecutive home win versus a non-conference opponent. Pittsburgh took care of the basketball all game, dishing out 27 assists as a team with only six turnovers. The Panthers also held Rider, who came into the game ranked seventh nationally in 3-point shooting at 44.6 percent, to 7-of-21 from behind the arc (33 percent).
Louisville (6-0) cruised past South Alabama 97-70. The Cardinals were led by Mike Marra, who scored a career-high 23 points to pace the offensive attack. Rakeem Buckles registered a double-double with 12 points and career-best 14 rebounds. Louisville led by at-least 16 points throughout the entire second half. It was an early 14-3 burst that gave the Cardinals a 31-16 lead, and the team never looked back. The win gave UofL its best start since 2005-06.
Cincinnati (7-0) jumped out to a 32-5 lead just nine minutes into the game and went on to an 81-47 rout of Toledo. The Bearcats led 53-21 at the half and were up by as many as 39 in the second. Dion Dixon led the team with 17 points while Cashmere Wright was the only other player in double figures with 10. Eleven players scored for UC and six had at least eight points. Cincinnati came into the game ranked first nationally in scoring defense and has allowed more than 59 points just once this year.
Marquette (6-2) had an easy 96-65 win over Longwood, led by a career-high 19 points by Chris Otule. Otule was averaging just five points per game entering the contest, was 9-of-9 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds. It was the second-straight win for the Golden Eagles, who also got 14 points from Darius Johnson-Odom and 12 points from Vander Blue.
West Virginia (5-2) dropped a 79-76 decision at Miami. It was the first road game of the year for the Mountaineers who led by as many as 13 points before a furious comeback by the Hurricanes. Darryl Bryant scored 20 points to lead West Virginia while Casey Mitchell added 18. WVU went 21-of-24 from the free-throw line in the game, but hit on just 7-of-22 from 3-point range.
USF (5-4) lost 50-42 at Florida Atlantic. The Bulls trailed 43-42 with 3:13 to play, but the Owls scored the final seven points of the game to take the victory. Jarrid Famous led USF with nine points.
DePaul hosts Central Michigan at 6 p.m. in the only BIG EAST game today.