Weekend Recap

Here's a recap of the busy weekend in Big East basketball:

***No. 23 Georgetown 76 No. 12 Marquette 58. The Hoyas honored 100 years of basketball on Saturday and this year's team did not disappoint the dignitaries in attendance. Roy Hibbert dominated down low with 23 points and 11 rebounds while Jeff Green scored a game-high 24 points to help the Hoyas improve to 18-5 overall and 8-2 in the Big East. The victory catapults Georgetown over Marquette into second-place, a game and a half behind Pittsburgh (10-1). The Panthers won the earlier meeting but Georgetown will host the league-leader on February 24th. The Hoyas are surging at the right time. They've won seven contests in a row and with the one-two combination of Hibbert and Green, Georgetown will be a tough out in March. Another reason they'll be a tough out is because of their defense. The Hoyas held Marquette's Dominic James to 2-of-17 from the field. The star sophomore guard is just 5-of-35 shooting in the past three games. Georgetown, first in the Big East in scoring defense, ended the contest with a 21-5 run.

***Villanova 78 Seton Hall 69. Dante Cunningham scored 13 straight second half points to preserve the Wildcats road victory. Villanova improves to 17-7 overall and 5-5 in conference play. Curtis Sumpter added a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Wildcats have now won four in a row to help their NCAA Tournament hopes. Jamar Nutter led the Pirates with 21 points, including a three-pointer with 2:47 remaining to cut the deficit to 73-69. But Villanova ended the game by hitting five free throws. The Wildcats shot 34-of-41 from the charity stripe while Seton Hall got there 24 times in a home game. The Pirates now sit at 12-11 and 3-7 in the Big East. Leading scorer Brian Laing fouled out of the game and did not score.

***West Virginia 70 No. 2 UCLA 65. In their biggest win of the season, the Mountaineers had a 19-point second half lead and held on for dear life to get the huge upset victory. After leading 47-28 with 14 minutes remaining, the Bruins went on a run to get the deficit down to 63-59 with less than two minutes to go. But West Virginia hit 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to earn the Big East a monster out-of-conference win. Alex Ruoff led the Mountaineers with 18 points as they go to 19-5 on the year. Playing without starting point guard Darren Collison, senior Arron Afflalo scored a game-high 27 points and pulled down nine rebounds to keep UCLA in the contest. But they could not overcome 38 percent shooting from the field and 6-of-23 from three-point range as the Bruins fall to 21-3 on the season. West Virginia is second in the league in scoring defense.

***Louisville 83 South Florida 63. Freshman Derrick Caracter scored a career-high 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds as the Cardinals swept the season series from the Bulls. Louisville improves to 17-8 overall and 7-4 in the Big East. The Cardinals were able to shoot 51 percent from the field. It helped them build at 30-point halftime lead. Brandon Jenkins added 15 points. For South Florida, they fall to 12-13 on the season and 3-8 in the league. Melvin Buckley led the Bulls with 16 points and the team shot 44 percent in the game but no defense contributed to the road blowout defeat.

***Rutgers 73 Cincinnati 69. In a match-up of the two bottom feeders in the Big East, Rutgers ended the game on a 12-2 run to improve to 10-15 on the year and 3-9 in the conference. The Bearcats had a 67-61 lead with four minutes to go but could not close the deal for the second time this week on the road. They lost at Providence on Tuesday after blowing a late lead. Jaron Griffin led the Scarlet Knights with 14 points while Hamady N'Diaye blocked seven shots. Cincinnati's John Williamson scored 19 points while Deonta Vaughn added 18 points as the Bearcats fall to 10-14 overall and 1-9 in the league.

***No. 6 Pittsburgh 74 Providence 68. Aaron Gray scored 22 points to help the Panthers fend off the feisty Friars. Pittsburgh improves to 22-3 on the season and stayed atop the Big East standings at 10-1, which is the school's best start in league history. Providence led 42-36 before the Panthers went on a decisive 11-1 run, keyed by Gray's six points in the spurt. It's the first time in six games that Gray has eclipsed the 20-point barrier. The Friars, looking to solidify a shaky NCAA Tournament resume, closed to 61-59 with just over four minutes to go before Pittsburgh ended the upset hopes with a 8-2 run. Providence falls to 15-8 overall and 5-5 in the conference. Herbert Hill recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Sharaud Curry also scored 20 points for the Friars.

***Syracuse 76 St. John's 74. In a must-win game at home for their NCAA Tournament life, Demetris Nichols scored a career-high 36 points, including 26 after the second half, and pulled down 10 rebounds to give the Orange the win. Nichols leads the Big East in scoring and didn't disappoint on Sunday. He nailed 14-of-24 shots from the field, including seven made three-pointers. They needed every point because the Red Storm came to play. Consecutive three-pointers gave St. John's a 63-62 lead with five minutes to go. But a quick 6-0 run, which included a three-pointer from Nichols, gave Syracuse a 69-63 advantage. The Orange shot 48 percent from the field as they go to 17-8 on the year and 6-5 in the conference. For the Red Storm, Anthony Mason, Jr. led the team with 21 points and six rebounds as they fall to 14-11 overall and 5-7 in league play.

***Georgia Tech 65 Connecticut 52. In a non-conference tilt at the Georgia Dome, a repeat of the 2004 title game went the other way in the end. The Huskies won back then but on Sunday, the Yellow Jackets were the superior team. Thaddeus Young led Georgia Tech with 14 points as they go to 16-8 on the season. Javaris Crittenton scored nine straight second half points to give the Yellow Jackets an insurmountable 46-29 advantage. For UCONN, their only hope now to get to the NCAA Tournament is to run the table at the Big East Tournament. The problem with that: they're only a game up on Seton Hall for 12th and final spot to qualify for the trip to New York City. The Huskies hit just 30 percent of their shots and fall to 15-9 on the year. Jeff Adrien and Jerome Dyson led UCONN with 13 points apiece.

***STANDINGS

Pittsburgh 10-1, 18-3

Georgetown 8-2, 18-5

Marquette 8-3, 21-5

West Virginia 7-4, 19-5

Louisville 7-4, 17-8

Notre Dame 6-5, 18-6

Syracuse 6-5, 17-8

Villanova 5-5, 17-7

Providence 5-5, 15-8

DePaul 5-6, 14-11

St. John's 5-7, 14-11

Connecticut 4-6, 15-9

Seton Hall 3-7, 12-11

South Florida 3-8, 12-13

Rutgers 3-9, 10-15

Cincinnati 1-9, 10-14


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