College Basketball fans were treated to two fantastic games in the afternoon session of the BIG EAST Tournament in NYC. In the first game, two teams playing for an at-large bid went right down to the wire. Syracuse and Cincinnati battled each other for all 40 minutes, with the Orange pulling out a dramatic 74-73 win. Cincinnati looked like they had the game won when Devan Downey stole the Syracuse inbounds pass, and was fouled with eight seconds left. This followed James White???s 15 foot jumpshot with ten seconds left that gave the Bearcats a 72-71 lead. Downey hit one of two free-throws, setting the stage for Gerry McNamara. McNamara went the length of the court and hit a running, one-handed three pointer with a half-second left. To add to the dramatics, Jihad Mohammed just missed a game-winning shot from halfcourt, hitting the front rim as time expired. Syracuse will play top-seeded UConn at 11:00 AM Thursday with a chance to solidify their spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Of greater interest to Marquette fans was the second game of the afternoon, #12 Notre Dame against #5 Georgetown, with the winner facing MU on Thursday. After a terrible start, going 0-8 from the field and falling behind 11-0, the Hoyas battled back and earned a hard-fought 67-63 win. The Georgetown victory kills any NCAA hopes the Irish had, and once again proves that Digger Phelps sniffs his highlighters too much. Brandon Bowman led the Hoyas with 25 points, as Georgetown was able to exploit Notre Dame???s 2-3 zone in the second half due to the passing ability of their big men. Marquette and Georgetown will tip-off at 1:30 PM tomorrow on ESPN.
Unfortunately, the second pair of games did not live up to the first. In the first game, two sounds were heard- shots clanging off the rim and Seton Hall???s bubble bursting. The Pirates shot a terrible 25.4% on the game in an ugly 61-48 loss to Rutgers. Donald Copeland led the Pirates with 28 points, and Quincy Douby led Rutgers with 18, six below his average. Seton Hall must now play the waiting game, as this loss puts their NCAA hopes in serious jeopardy. Rutgers moves on to face Villanova at 6:00 Thursday evening.
The second game was in a word, bizarre. Pitt beat Louisville 61-56, in a game that had two completely opposite halves. Louisville did not score until the 11:20 mark in the first half and fell behind by as many as 25, before trailing 36-19 at the break. Game over, right? Not so fast. Louisville came storming back, and cut the lead to three in the final minute before Pitt put the game away. The Panthers won despite not having a field goal in the last 13:40 of the game. Taquan Dean led the Cardinals with 15, and Pitt???s Carl Krauser led all players in age, and scoring with 19 points. Louisville will now move on to the NIT, while Pitt will face longtime rival West Virginia in the nightcap on Thursday.
Game 5: No. 1 Connecticut vs. No. 9 Syracuse, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 6: No. 4 Marquette vs. No. 5 Georgetown, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 7: No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 10 Rutgers, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 8: No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 6 Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Popularity: 6% [?]