BIG EAST teams went 3-0 on Thursday night to improve the league’s nonconference record to 151-35 (.812). Teams will take a break for the holiday before beginning conference play next week.
No. 10/9 Georgetown (11-1) highlighted the evening with an impressive 86-69 on the road against No. 16/17 Memphis. Senior Austin Freeman scored a game-high 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting to lead the Hoyas, while guard Chris Wright added 19 points. Forward Julian Vaughn had his second double-double of the year with 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. The Hoyas shot 56.9 percent from the floor while holding the Tigers to 39.4 percent. GU took control of the contest with a 10-4 run in the second half that pushed the lead to double digits. The advantage reached as high as 17 with 3:37 remaining following a driving layup by Freeman. The win improved Georgetown’s record to 2-0 against Top 25 opponents.
Cincinnati improved its record to 12-0 with a comfortable 94-58 win over Saint Francis (Pa.). It is the best start for the Bearcats since 2003-04 when the team won its first 13 games. In his first career start, freshman guard Sean Kilpatrick scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the first half. Forward Yancy Gates and guard Larry Davis added 18 points each off the bench, helping the Bearcats grab a win in front of 5,504 fans, the team’s second-largest home crowd of the season. UC was never seriously threatened in the game, opening up a 28-8 lead with 10:44 left in the first half. It was the second largest margin of victory for the Bearcats this year.
Rutgers (9-2) won its sixth-straight game, squeaking past Saint Peter’s 55-52. Mike Poole scored a team-high 14 points off the bench for the Scarlet Knights, including draining two clutch free throws with 17 seconds remaining. Forward Gilvydas Biruta had 11 points for RU. The 9-2 start for coach Mike Rice is the best for a first-year coach at Rutgers since the 1945-46 season when Donald S. White started 10-2.
No games are scheduled for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. BIG EAST teams are back on the court on Dec. 26 when Seton Hall hosts Richmond at noon ET. The first BIG EAST conference game is Dec. 27 when Connecticut travels to Pittsburgh. ESPN will televise the game at 8:30 p.m.