Smoking Start

The Big East basketball conference is off to a roaring start in the 2009-10 season,


The Big East stands at a perfect 31-0 going into Thursday's night's challenging slate of games, leaving the largest (and best) league in the nation as the only conference without a loss. Villanova knocked off George Mason in afternoone action, but Syracuse (vs. #12 California), USF and Notre Dame headline a difficult slate of must see games tonight.


The Big East has six teams (Villanova, West Virginia, Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville and Syracuse in the Top 25, and two more (Notre Dame, Pittsburgh) receiving votes.


Louisville head coach Rick Pitino recorded his 750th career win Louisville pounded Arkansas 96-66.

Senior guard Deonta Vaughn scored a team-high 15 points to help the Bearcats overcome an eight-point halftime deficit in the win over Prairie View. Freshman guard Cashmere Wright added 12 points.

Lance Stephenson, the Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year, scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds in 22 minutes. The top eight Bearcats in coach Mick Cronin's rotation played between 20 and 29 minutes.

The Bearcats next play in the Maui Invitational Nov. 23-25.

Guard Jerome Dyson scored 23 points, including nine straight in the final minute, to help the Huskies rally past Hofstra in the second round of the NIT Tip-Off.

Hofstra led 54-45 with 9:10 remaining after connecting on five 3-pointers in the span of 2:24.

Dyson made a career-high 14 free throws in 15 attempts. Guard Kemba Walker added 16 points.

The Huskies advance to meet LSU in the semifinal round at Madison Square Garden Nov. 25.

Junior Mac Koshwal posted 19 points and 12 rebounds -- his 17th career double-double -- in the victory over Columbia.

Guard Will Walker added 15 points. With the win, the Blue Demons have won 69 of their last 71 home openers.

Forward Eric Wallace, a transfer from Ohio State, was in the starting lineup and finished with 10 points. After meeting Northern Iowa in the first round of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands, the Blue Demons will play Tennessee or East Carolina in the second round.

Greg Monroe's basket with 6.5 seconds left lifted the Hoyas past Temple. Monroe then tied up an Owl shooter in the final seconds to force a jump ball.

Guard Chris Wright scored a game-high 15 points. Monroe finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Last year, the Hoyas defeated Savannah State 100-38 at home. Savannah State is coached by former Hoya standout Horace Broadnax.

All five starters reached double figures, but it was reserve guard Reginald Delk who led the Cardinals in scoring with 20 points in the win over Arkansas in St. Louis, Mo. Delk reached his point total in only 22 minutes. Last season, he scored only a total of 44 points.

Center Samardo Samuels led the starters in scoring with 17 points. No Cardinal player saw more than 27 minutes of action.

Forward Lazar Hayward registered a career-high 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the win over Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Guard Dwight Buycks, a junior college transfer, was in the starting lineup. He finished with 12 points and three assists in 25 minutes.

The Golden Eagles meet Grambling and South Dakota at home before heading to the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 26-29.

Forward Luke Harangody scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win over St. Francis (Pa.). Guard Ben Hansborough added 18 points and seven assists.

The Irish shot 55.7 percnet from the floor and held a 40-21 rebounding advantage.

ND has won 38 straight home games against nonconference foes.

The Panthers' comfortable win over Binghamton was the first of four games in the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic. Pitt led 37-17 at halftime.

Guard Ashton Gibbs scored a game-high 22 points. Backcourt mate Brad Wanamaker added 14 points.

After the Eastern Kentucky game at home on Thursday, the Panthers finish play in the CBE tourney with two games next week in Kansas City, Mo. Pitt meets Wichita State on Nov. 23.

Senior guard Jermaine Dixon, the only returning starter, remains out with a foot injury.

The win over Mercer gave the Friars the title in the World Vision Invitational which was a round-robin format that also included Bucknell and Bryant. All games were played at the Dunkin Donuts Center. <> Guard Marshon Brooks, who scored 26 points against Mercer, was the tournament MVP. Sophomore forward Jamine Peterson pulled down 22 rebounds, the most rebounds by a PC player since Michael Smith had 26 on Jan. 25, 1994 in a 96-82 win over Syracuse.

Last year, the Friars finished with their first winning record in the Big East (10-8) since the 2003-04 team was 11-5.

Guard Mike Rosario scored 17 points in the win over Marist.

Forward Gregory Echenique added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward Patrick Jackson started for the first time in his career and produced 15 points and seven boards in 27 minutes.

Friday's game against Drexel is the first of four contests in the Legends Classic.

Junior guard Jeremy Hazell, who did not make a field goal in Friday's win against Saint Peter's, scored a gamehigh 26 points in Sunday's win over Monmouth.

Forward Herb Pope added 15 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Reserve guard Jamel Jackson also scored 15 points. The Pirates shot 52.2 percent from the floor.

The Pirates stay on the road with a trip to Ivy League champion Cornell on Friday.

Guard Malik Boothe hit a pair of free throws with 6.2 seconds left to carry the Red Storm past Saint Bonaventure in a game played in Rochester, N.Y.

Forward D.J. Kennedy scored 18 points and guard Paris Horne added 15 points.

Friday's game against Brown is in Carnesecca Arena. It is first of three games that the Red Storm will play as part of the Philly Classic. After Brown, St. John's will meet Siena (Nov. 27) and Temple (Nov. 28) at the Palestra in Philadelphia.

-point range en route to a game-high 22 points in the win over Robert Morris. All five starters reached double figures. Eleven SU players scored the game.

Forward Wesley Johnson contributed 15 points, four steals and three rebounds.

Syracuse meets California in the third round of the 2K Sports Classic which benefits Coaches vs. Cancer on Nov. 19 at Madison Square Garden. The Orange will play North Carolina or Ohio State at MSG on Nov. 20.

Guard Dominique Jones filled the box score with 22 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals in the win over Virginia.

Forward Augustus Gilchrist added 18 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

The Bulls began the second half with a 17-5 run which gave them a 48-32 edge. The Cavaliers did not get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

After battling Davidson in the first round of the Charleston Classic, the Bulls will play La Salle or South Carolina.

Freshman guard Maalik Wayns scored a team-high 16 points in the triumph over Penn. Guards Scottie Reynolds and Corey Stokes, along with forward Taylor King, each added 14 points.

The victory over the Quakers was the Wildcats' 30th straight at The Pavilion. Villanova has won 19 of its last 20 games against Philadelphia Big 5 competition.

After meeting George Mason in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, the Wildcats will meet Dayton or Georgia Tech in the second round.

Senior forward Da'Sean Butler posted 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the win over Loyola (Md.).

Guard Darryl Bryant added 15 points and five assists.

The Mountaineers are off until Nov. 24 when they meet Citadel in Charleston.

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