BIG EAST men’s basketball teams notched a 4-4 record on Wednesday night. Three teams maintained undefeated records with victories, as six BIG EAST teams remain unbeaten.
No. 12/12 Villanova (7-1) picked up its second win against a Big 5 team, knocking off Penn 65-53. Senior guard Corey Stokes was unstoppable, scoring a career-high 34 points on 11-of-15 shooting including five 3s. Stokes keyed a 9-2 second-half run, scoring seven points in that stretch and giving the Wildcats a 13-point advantage. Penn never drew closer than seven after that. It was the eighth-straight win for Villanova over the Quakers. Stokes eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career amidst the 34-point outburst.
No. 3/3 Pittsburgh (10-0) remained unbeaten with a 70-42 win over Delaware State. Sophomore Dante Taylor scored a career-high 14 points while pulling down 10 rebounds in just 15 minutes to notch his first career double-double. The Panthers had 11 players score in the game, with J.J. Moore also scoring in double figures with 10 points. Pitt outrebounded the visiting Hornets 41-18 in the game. Taylor sparked the Panthers off the bench in the first half, scoring nine points and grabbing seven rebounds in just eight minutes. His dunk snapped a 7-7 tie and started Pitt on a 13-0 run that led to a 34-19 halftime lead.
No. 24/RV Louisville (7-0) also stayed perfect with a 61-35 victory over San Francisco. The Cardinals struggled to shoot the ball in the game, firing at just 36.1 percent from the floor, but used great defense to win their seventh straight to start the season. Leading by just one point at the half (25-24), Louisville outscored San Francisco 36-11 in the second half, holding the Dons to 5-of-23 shooting including 0-of-8 from 3-point land. Peyton Siva and Terrence Jennings each scored 14 points to lead the Cardinals, who still had four players score in double figures. A 16-0 second-half run helped Louisville take control of the game, with Siva hitting two 3s in the stretch.
No. 6/6 Connecticut (8-0) cruised to a 78-54 win over Fairleigh Dickinson at Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies broke a team record by attempting 32 3-point shots in the contest, but made just 10. The nation’s leading scorer, Kemba Walker, led the Huskies with 21 points and added four rebounds and three steals. Walker got help from freshmen Roscoe Smith, Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier who all scored in double figures. Smith had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double, while Lamb added 12 points and Napier had 10 points and five assists.
The BIG EAST lost the first two games of the DirecTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational, with both games being played at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. In the first game, Seton Hall (3-4) dropped a 71-62 decision to Arkansas. Jordan Theodore led the Pirates with 24 points, but Seton Hall ran out of gas after erasing a 17-point deficit. The Hall fell to 1-3 without leading scorer Jeremy Hazell. Theodore hit a pair of free throws with 7:05 remaining to give the Pirates a 51-50 lead, but the Razorbacks went on an 11-0 run to claim a 10-point advantage with 2:19 left. Jamel Jackson added nine points off the bench for the Pirates, connecting on three 3-pointers.
In the second game, No. 23/23 Notre Dame (8-1) lost its first game of the season, falling 72-58 to No. 17/16 Kentucky. The Irish stayed even with the Wildcats in the first half, shooting 56 percent to go into the halftime time knotted at 40. Ben Hansbrough had 19 of his team-leading 21 points in the first frame. Notre Dame went cold in the second half, shooting just 6-of-30 from the field and 1-of-13 from behind the 3-point arc. The Irish went without a field goal for nearly 12 minutes, spanning from the end of the first half until midway through the second, as Kentucky turned an 11-point deficit into a 7-point lead.
Providence (9-2) nearly completed a second-half comeback against New England rival Boston College, but came up just short in an 88-86 loss on the road. The Friars trailed by as many as 15 points (55-40) with 15:40 left, but were able to get themselves in position for a chance to win it at the end. Marshon Brooks caught fire in the second half for Providence, who trailed 42-31 at the half, hitting two 3s sandwiched around a Kadeem Batts free throw to cut a 12-point deficit to five with six minutes to play. Brooks led the Friars with 28 points and pulled in 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year. PC trailed by four with 12 seconds left, when Duke Mondy dropped a 3 from the corner to cut the lead to 87-86 with five seconds remaining. BC’s Joe Trapani hit the first free-throw but missed the second, giving Vincent Council a chance to win the game with a half court shot at the buzzer. Council’s heave would hit the backboard, go off the front of the rim and bounce out to give the Friars their second loss of the year.
DePaul (3-5) lost a road game to Indiana State 73-51. It was the second win all time for Indiana State in 13 games against the Blue Demons. The last win for the Sycamores in the series came in the 1979 Final Four, when the Larry Bird-led Indiana State squad knocked-off DePaul 76-74. Freshman Cleveland Melvin scored 15 points off the bench to lead DePaul.
Just one game is on the BIG EAST schedule on Thursday night as No. 9/10 Georgetown visits Temple for a 9 p.m. ET game on ESPN.