BIG EAST men’s basketball teams notched a 10-1 record in Saturday’s action, with Syracuse and Cincinnati remaining unbeaten with victories. The BIG EAST has three of the nine remaining undefeated teams in the country. The conference was 8-1 at home on the day.
Cincinnati moved to 10-0 for the first time since 2004-05 after defeating Oklahoma 66-56 in the All-College Classic in Oklahoma City. Dion Dixon and Cashmere Wright had 12 points each to keep Cincinnati’s perfect season intact. Forward Yancy Gates added 11 points and seven rebounds. The Bearcats’ defense did the job once again, limiting the Sooners to 4-of-22 from behind the arc and forcing 13 turnovers. Cincinnati entered the week ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring defense.
West Virginia (8-2) knocked off one of the nation’s 12 remaining unbeaten teams, Cleveland State 74-63. The Mountaineers used a 19-8 second-half run to topple the Vikings, who entered the game 12-0. Guard Casey Mitchell, who had been held to a total of eight points over the previous two contests, had 15 points for West Virginia. Kevin Jones and John Flowers each recorded double-doubles.
No. 15/13 Georgetown (10-1) notched a 99-75 win over Loyola-Md. The Hoyas shot 78 percent in the first half, building a 15-point lead after just 10 minutes of play. GU made 18 of its 23 first-half shots. Four Hoyas scored in double figures, including Austin Freeman and Hollis Thompson who each had 14 to lead the team. The meeting between the schools was the first since 1974. Georgetown holds a 36-9 advantage in the series all-time.
Marquette (8-3) cruised to an 81-52 victory over winless Centenary at the Bradley Center. The Golden Eagles scored the first eight points of the contest and never trailed. Guard Darius Johnson-Odom scored 16 points in the game, including 14 in the second half, while freshman Vander Blue also contributed 16 to lead Marquette. Jimmy Butler notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Marquette blew the game open with a 12-0 run in the second half, with Blue scoring six points capping the run with a jumper for a 51-30 lead with 12:38 left. The Golden Eagles led by as many as 30 in the game.
DePaul (5-6) won its second-straight game with an 81-74 victory over Loyola-Ill. Tony Freeland came off the bench to lead the Blue Demons with 16 points. Freshman Brandon Young added eight points and nine assists. Young leads all BIG EAST freshmen in scoring at 14.4 points per game. Freeland ignited an 11-2 second-half run that stretched a one-point lead to 10 with 10 minutes remaining.
No. 5/5 Syracuse (11-0) held on to beat Iona 83-77. The Orange led throughout, and were helped by Kris Joseph’s 21 points to keep their unblemished record intact. Syracuse built large leads on two different occasions, leading by as many as 11 in the first half and 15 in the second, but the Gaels hung around thanks to Mike Glover who led all scorers with 25 points while grabbing 16 rebounds. Syracuse guard Brandon Triche scored 14 points, as the Orange opened the season 11-0 for the 11th time in Jim Boeheim’s 35 seasons and 15th time in school history.
Gilbert Brown scored a career-high 28 points as No. 8/8 Pittsburgh (11-1) defeated Maryland-Eastern Shore 97-64. Brown missed only two shots (11-of-13) on his way to a career night, while Ashton Gibbs added 15 points and seven assists and Gary McGhee had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. The Panthers used a 21-5 run to open up a 47-27 lead in the first half. Brown had 10 points during the run in less than three minutes. Pitt moved to 19-0 against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schools and has won the last 55 games against non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center.
No. 10/11 Villanova (9-1) knocked off Delaware 78-59 at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wildcats used a 14-0 run early in the second half to deny the Blue Hens their first win against a Top 25 team. Corey Fisher had 21 points and Maalik Wayns added 14 to lead Villanova. Wayns and Fisher each hit 3’s during the 14-0 run, and Fisher ended the run with a steal and a layup to build a 53-34 lead.
No. 20/21 Louisville (9-1) cruised to a 78-49 victory over visiting Gardner-Webb. It was the last of 10 straight home games to begin the season for the Cardinals, who visit Western Kentucky this week. Guard Preston Knowles scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Gorgui Dieng had eight points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks in his first career start. Louisville used a 20-0 first-half run to put away the overmatched Runnin’ Bulldogs.
Rutgers (8-2) won its fifth-straight game by defeating Monmouth 79-56 on the road. Mike Coburn scored 18 points while Jonathan Mitchell added 16 to lead the Scarlet Knights to their eighth victory in the last nine games. Dane Miller had 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The contest was close until midway through the second half, when Rutgers opened the game up after trailing by two points with 16 minutes to go in the game. The game saw 11 lead changes and four ties.
USF (6-6) was the only blemish in an otherwise perfect day for the conference, dropping a 66-61 decision to James Madison. The Bulls let a 10-point second-half lead slip away despite getting career highs from Jawanza Poland and Hugh Robertson who both scored 19 points in the loss. Robertson also had 11 rebounds for his first career double-double, while Jarrid Famous notched a double-double of his own with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Only two games are scheduled in the BIG EAST on Sunday, beginning with No. 24/23 Notre Dame hosting Stony Brook at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU. Seton Hall is also in action, as the Pirates host NJIT at 7:30 p.m.