BIG EAST WEEKLY BASKETBALL REPORT

Here's a recap of the games played by Big East Conference teams for the week ending Sunday, December 25th:

MONDAY

Marquette pulled away in the 2nd half to defeat Oakland (Michigan) 90-69. The game was tied at 49 before the Golden Eagles rallied behind the play of three freshmen. Guard Wesley Matthews led the way with 19 points. Guard Jerel McNeal added 18 points along with 7 rebounds and Dominic James chipped in with 17 points. Marquette's win gives them an 8-3 record. Oakland (4-4) guard Calvin Wooten scored a game-high 21 points.

Cincinnati (7-2) advanced to the semifinals of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic with an 84-63 win over Division II Arkansas-Monticello. The Bearcats had five players in double figures, led by senior SF James White's 18 points. Fellow seniors Eric Hicks and Jihad Muhammad each added 15. Nate Newell tallied 16 points for the Boll Weevils (4-3).

TUESDAY

#11 Louisville topped Middle Tennessee 76-68 in the opening round of the Billy Minardi Classic. This event is held in memory of the brother-in-law of Cardinals' coach Rick Pitino. Junior SG Brandon Jenkins led Louisville with 20 points and center David Padgett added 18. The Blue Raiders, who fell to 5-3, had five players in double figures. Forward Adam Vogelsberg led the way with 14 points.

Providence used a 31-0 run to rally past Northeastern 92-70. The Friars (4-4) scored the final 8 points of the 1st half, but still trailed 39-36 at intermission. They opened the 2nd half with a 23-0 run, ending the Huskies' dreams of an upset. Sophomore center Randall Hanke had a huge game for Providence with a career-high 34 points and 12 rebounds. Senior PG Donnie McGrath added 16 points, putting him over the 1,000 point mark for his career. Freshman SF Geoff McDermott contributed 10 points and 16 rebounds. Senior PG Jose Juan Barea led Northeastern (6-2) with 18 points and 11 assists.

WEDNESDAY

#1 Duke cruised to a 70-57 victory over St. John's. Senior SG J.J. Reddick had a game-high 18 points for the Blue Devils. Freshman forward Josh McRoberts and senior PG Sean Dockery each added 12. Senior center Shelden Williams contributed 10 rebounds and 11 points as Duke improved to 11-0. St. John's (5-4) only had one player in double figures; junior PF Aaron Spears with 14.

#11 Louisville won the Billy Minardi Classic, 78-63 over the College of Charleston. The Cardinals only led 46-42 with just over 11 minutes left, but then went on a 21-5 run to put the game away. Freshman SF Terrence Williams came off the bench to pace Louisville (8-1) with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Junior SG Brandon Jenkins added 13 points. The Cougars (4-4) were led by junior guard Dontaye Draper's 16 points.

Notre Dame improved to 6-2 with an 80-59 win over Niagara (2-6). The Irish hit a season-high twelve 3 pointers. Junior SG Colin Falls had five of the treys and 19 points overall. Freshman guard Kyle McAlarney added 16 points. The game was close most of the way, as the Purple Eagles only trailed 42-41 with 15 minutes remaining before Notre Dame put the game out of reach with a 22-7 run. Sophomore guard Charron Fisher topped Niagara with 19 points.

Syracuse (9-2) overcame Illinois-Chicago 75-61. The Orange tied a school record with 16 blocked shots, including 7 by junior center Darryl Watkins. The leading scorer for Syracuse was junior PF Terrence Roberts, with 19 points along with 10 rebounds. Senior SG Gerry McNamara added 18 points and 12 assists. The Orange only led 32-30 at the half, but opened the 2nd half with a 7-0 run. After the Flames closed to within four at 41-37, a 10-0 Syracuse run iced the win. Senior SG Justin Bowen scored a game-high 21 for the Flames, who fell to 6-5.

Georgetown blew past Savannah State 78-49. The Hoyas (6-2) were paced by sophomore center Ray Hibbert's 16 points and 11rebounds. Sophomore forward Jeff Green added 14. Georgetown controlled the boards throughout, outrebounding the Tigers 38-19. The only Savannah State (1-11) player in double figures was junior guard Javon Randolph with 13.

Pittsburgh remained undefeated at 9-0 as they crushed Coppin State 77-51. It was the 8th consecutive game that the Panthers have held their opponent to 60 or fewer points. Junior center Aaron Gray led Pittsburgh with 14 points and 7 rebounds. Senior SG Carl Krauser added 12 points, 7 assists, and a game-high 8 rebounds. Sophomore guard Darryl Roberts scored a game-high 17 for the Eagles, who fell to 0-9. All of their games have been on the road!

DePaul (6-4) continued their "up and down" season with a 68-65 upset win over California in the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland. Golden Bear's PF Leon Powe had a chance to tie the game at 67 with 2.8 seconds remaining, but missed two free throws. The 2nd miss was deliberate, but Blue Demon's junior guard Sammy Mejia grabbed the rebound. He was fouled and made one of two for the final margin. Mejia had a game-high 20 points. Sophomore guard Draelon Burns added 13, including four in the final minutes to put DePaul ahead to stay. Junior guard Ayinde Ubaka paced California (6-3) with 16 points.

In the opening round of the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Iowa State (7-3) defeated South Florida 83-74. The Cyclones were led by sophomore SF Rahshon Clark's 19 points. Junior guard Will Blaylock contributed 16 points and 10 assists. Three Bulls (5-4) accounted for 62 of their 74 points. McHugh Mattis scored a game-high 23 points, including a perfect 10-10 from the field. James Holmes added 20 and Melvin Buckley had 19.

THURSDAY

#3 Villanova remained undefeated (8-0) with a 98-57 rout of city rival LaSalle. The Wildcats' potent senior guard combo of Allen Ray and Randy Foye had another huge game. Ray scored a game-high 21 points, including six from 3 point range. Foye had 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Senior PF Jason Fraser came off the bench to add 13 points and 6 boards. The loss was the first of the season for the Explorers, who fell to 7-1. They were paced by sophomore guard Darnell Harris'15 points.

West Virginia pulled a big upset, knocking off #7 Oklahoma 92-68 in Oklahoma City. The game was close much of the way. The Mountaineers led 41-34 at the half. The Sooners then rallied to within five at 61-56 before WVU ended the game with a powerful 31-12 run. The Mountaineers (7-3) had four of their five starters in double figures, led by senior center Kevin Pittsnogle's 25 points. Senior SG Joe Herber added a career-high 21. West Virginia had an incredible shooting performance, going 32-48 (66.7%) from the field and 20-23 (87%) from the charity stripe. Senior PF Taj Gray kept Oklahoma (6-2) in the game as long as he could, scoring a game-high 31 points along with 8 rebounds.

Cincinnati (8-2) topped Dayton 81-63 in the semi-finals of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. It was sweet revenge for the Bearcats, who had lost at home 75-66 to the Flyers on November 29th. Cincinnati only led 59-58 with less than 8 minutes left, but ended the game with a 22-5 run. The Bearcats had five players reach double figures. Freshman PG Devan Downey led the way with 21 points, while senior SF James White added 19. The only Dayton (8-4) player to reach double figures was sophomore guard Brian Roberts with 21.

Rutgers lost their first home game of the season, falling 85-82 to Charlotte. The game was tight all the way, with the score knotted at 40 after the first 20 minutes. The 49ers (6-5) were led by De'Angelo Alexander's 20 points. Senior PF Curtis Withers added 19 points and 8 rebounds. The Scarlet Knights (9-3) were once again paced by junior SG Quincy Douby, who had a game-high 29 points and 7 rebounds. Freshman guard Anthony Farmer added 14 points.

Marquette improved to 9-3 with a 60-48 win over Delaware State. The Golden Eagles had three players in double figures, all freshmen guards. Wes Matthews led the way with 12 points, while Dominic James and Jerel McNeal each added 10. The Hornets fell to 2-8, all road contests. They were paced by sophomore guard Tracey Worley's game-high 16 points.

Providence got past Yale, 76-63. The Friars (5-4) won despite being out rebounded by a 38-28 margin. Providence was led by freshman guard Sharaud Curry's career-high 25 points. Fellow freshman forward Geoff McDermott, added 18 points along with 9 rebounds. Junior center Dominick Martin and sophomore forward Caleb Holmes each tallied 13 points for the Bulldogs (5-5).

In the Consolation Round of the Rainbow Classic, Oregon State (5-4) edged South Florida 61-56. Senior SG Chris Stephens topped the Beavers with a game-high 21 points, including the final four of the contest. For the Bulls (5-5), senior center Solomon Jones had 19 points and 10 rebounds and senior guard James Harris added 18 points.

FRIDAY

#2 Conecticut remained perfect at 9-0 with a 129-61 demolition of Morehead State (1-8). Senior SG Rashad Anderson led the way for the Huskies with a career-high 33 points, including an amazing 7 of 7 from three point range. Six other Huskies finished in double figures. Sophomore Rudy Gay had 18 points, 8 assists, and 6 blocked shots while senior PF Ed Nelson added 17 points and 8 rebounds. The only Eagle in double figures was junior forward Shaun Williams with 25.

In the finals of the Las Vegas Classic, Cincinnati edged LSU 75-72. The Bearcats (9-2) were paced by senior SF James White's 19 points, including 11 of the team's final 14. Senior PF Eric Hicks had a team-high 21 points and 7 rebounds. The Tigers (7-3) had an opportunity to tie the game at the buzzer, but freshman guard Garnett Temple missed a three point attempt. LSU's leading scorer was mammoth sophomore center Glen Davis, with 21 points along with 8 boards.

Notre Dame (7-2) struggled past Columbia 75-68. The Irish held just a 34-33 lead at the half, and then watched the Lions edge ahead 47-46 with 10 minutes remaining. Notre Dame then went on a 12-2 run that put them ahead to stay. Though Columbia out rebounded the Irish 34-32, the game was decided at the foul line. The Irish shot an incredible 45 free throws, converting 28. On the other hand, the Lions only made 10 trips to the charity stripe, making six. Was "Touchdown Jesus" one of the officials? Senior PG Chris Quinn led the Notre Dame with 18 points and 8 assists. Freshman guard Kyle McAlarney added 14 points. Columbia (6-3) was paced by sophomore guard Justin Armstrong's 17 points. Fellow sophomore PF Ben Nwachukwu added 15 points along with 7 boards.

South Florida captured 7th place in the Rainbow Classic by edging Loyola Marymount 54-50. The Bulls held a 34-19 lead at the half, but the Lions rallied to take a 50-49 advantage before USF's senior guard James Holmes drained the game-winning 3 pointer with 30 seconds left. Holmes led the Bulls (6-5) with 24 points. Senior center Solomon Jones added 9 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. The only player in double figures for Loyola Marymount (3-9) was senior center Chris Ayer with 12.

SATURDAY

#11 Louisville struggled to a 56-48 win over Detroit. The Cardinals (9-1) won despite shooting just 37.8% from the floor. They did convert on 16 of 22 free throws, compared to just 5-9 for the Titans. Louisville also forced 16 Detroit turnovers. Senior PG Taquan Dean led the way for the Cardinals with 15 points and 5 rebounds. The only other Louisville player to reach double figures was junior SG Brandon Jenkins with 12. Junior guard Brandon Cotton tallied a game-high 17 for the Titans, who fell to 6-7.

Big East News & Notes:

Troubles continue at Cincinnati, as junior forward Erick Murray was dismissed from the team for an unspecified violation of team rules. Murray was averaging less than one point per game. Despite the turmoil surrounding the program, the Bearcats are off to a 9-2 start. PG Marcus Williams made his first appearance on Connecticut's bench this season on Thursday night. However, Williams was not suited up. His suspension will end in time for him to play for the Huskies on January 3rd at Marquette. Incidentally, that game will mark the opening of the Big East conference season.

This Week's Schedule:

Monday No games.Tuesday

Colgate @ Georgetown, San Diego State @ Providence, Columbia @ St. John's, Syracuse @ Towson

Wednesday

Cincinnati @ Miami (Ohio), Stony Brook @ Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson @ Louisville, Fordham @ Notre Dame, Pittsburgh @ South Carolina, Bethune-Cookman @ South Florida

Thursday

Morgan State @ Seton Hall

Friday

North Carolina A&T @ Cincinnati, Quinnipiac @ Connecticut, Wofford @ Notre Dame, UAB @ South Florida, Kent State @ Syracuse, Canisius @ West Virginia

Saturday

Florida International @ DePaul, Louisville @ Miami (Florida), Wisconsin @ Pittsburgh, Princeton @ Rutgers, Iona @ Seton Hall, Villanova @ Temple

Sunday

No games. Happy New Year's!


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