The BIG EAST went 4-1 on Tuesday, moving the conference’s record to 103-21 in non-conference games.
No. 8/7 Syracuse (9-0) highlighted the night with a 72-58 win over No. 7/8 Michigan State in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The Orange were dominant inside, outscoring the Spartans 42-24 in the paint. Senior Rick Jackson led the inside scoring with 17 points, adding on 16 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the year in just nine games. Scoop Jardine led SU with 19 points, and Kris Joseph contributed 14. The Orange grabbed the lead 4 ½ minutes into the game and did not relinquish it. Michigan State closed within three with 12:24 to play, but Dion Waters hit a 3 and Jardine had a three-point play to extend the Orange advantage to nine. The Spartans never got closer than six the rest of the way. It was the fourth-straight win for Syracuse over Michigan State.
West Virginia (6-2) cruised to an 82-49 win over Robert Morris at the WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers dominated the Colonials in the paint, holding a 44-8 scoring advantage as well as a 48-25 rebounding edge. Deniz Kilicli scored a career-high 14 points to lead the Mountaineers, while John Flowers notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. West Virginia led by only four at the half, but outscored Robert Morris 50-21 in the second half and led by as many as 36. The WVU bench outscored the Colonials 40-9, led by Kilicli’s 14.
Rutgers (5-2) improved to 5-0 at home for the first time since 2007 with a 64-48 win over Marist. It was not all easy for the Scarlet Knights, who trailed by six at the half, but a pair of big second half runs lifted Rutgers to the win. An 11-0 run early in the half gave the Scarlet Knights the lead for good at 36-33. Jonathan Mitchell, who scored 16 points, sparked the game’s decisive run when he scored nine points during a 15-2 stretch that saw RU take a 53-39 lead with 7:25 remaining. The Scarlet Knights’ defense forced 21 turnovers and held Marist to 27 percent shooting in the contest.
Marquette (7-2) had five players score in double figures as the Golden Eagles beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 86-50. Freshman guard Vander Blue scored 21 points to lead Marquette, who also got 15 points each from Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder. The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 25-4 lead to start the game and never looked back. Blue had nine of the Golden Eagles first 14 points. The team went on another run of 13-0 before halftime and took a 48-17 lead into the break.
St. John’s (5-2) was the only blemish on the BIG EAST schedule on Tuesday, dropping a 67-66 decision to St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies Andrew Nicholson hit a shot with 5.2 seconds left to lift the visiting squad to the win. Dwight Hardy had 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting for the Red Storm, who had a five-game winning streak snapped. Justin Brownlee added 14 for St. John’s.
Eight BIG EAST teams take the court on Wednesday night. The conference has a pair of games on the ESPN family of networks, with Seton Hall taking on Arkansas on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. and No. 23/23 Notre Dame facing No. 17/16 Kentucky on ESPN at 9:30 p.m. Both of those games are part of the DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. Three other games will be available on ESPN3.com, including No. 3/3 Pittsburgh taking on Delaware State at 7 p.m. Also on ESPN3.com will be No. 6/6 Connecticut hosting Fairleigh Dickinson and No. 24/RV Louisville welcoming San Francisco for a pair of 7 p.m. starts. Also at 7 p.m., No. 12/12 Villanova faces Penn in a Big 5 matchup, and Providence visits Boston College. DePaul rounds out the schedule with a game at Indiana State at 8 p.m.