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The Big East Report: 1/6/09-1/12/09

Having the #1 team in the country is bad ass.
January 6
#17 Villanova (1-1) v. Seton Hall (0-3)
89-85 F/OT
Yes, Seton Hall managed to defend its home court admirably. Jeremy Hazell hit a ridiculous banking three point basket before the end of regulation to tie the game to send them to overtime. But it was Scottie Reynolds 40 points that ruled the day. Seton Hall was outscored in overtime 13 points to nine. Seton Hall just could not hack it with the better team on the floor in the end. A for effort though.

#5 Connecticut (2-1) v. #22 West Virginia (1-1)
61-55 F
UConn’s Jeff Adrien led all scorers in the game with 17 points as UConn was the more physical team on the floor. UConn’s Stanley Robinson pulled down 15 rebounds, while Hasheem Thabeet earned 13 points and 13 rebounds. The second half proved to be WVU’s undoing as they only managed to shoot 25% from the floor. UConn outlasted West Virginia in a game that was fairly close the entire game. Connecticut had the statistics to back up the win in this case though.

January 7
#21 Louisville (1-0) v. South Florida (0-2)
71-57 F
Louisville used a big run in the middle of the first half to spur on a lead that they would not relinquish against South Florida. Earl Clark of L’ville had 22 points and nine rebounds in a day when he shot 18 baskets. Meanwhile five bench players for USF earned zero points. It is not that hard to figure out that if you do not score you will not win the game. Louisville looked good opening their Big East schedule against the only Big East team with an overall record below .500.

#15 Marquette (3-0) v. Rutgers (0-3)
81-76 F
This was the first epic and almost tragic collapse in the Big East this season. Marquette was leading by as much as 21 in the second half, but they only won by five as Rutgers clawed and scratched their way back in this game at home. Four of the five Marquette starters, led by Wesley Matthews 23 points, were in double figures. Rutgers’ Mike Rosario had 22 of his own though. But it was not enough for Rutgers to overtake the deficit that Marquette had built up.

Providence (3-0) v. Cincinnati (0-2)
87-79 F
Weyinmi Efejuku (a funny name all star) led Providence in scoring with 18, mostly because of his 11-14 performance from the free throw line. There was a balanced attack from Providence as they made 12-24 three point shots. However Cincinnati would not just go away as they cut their deficit latter part of the second half to two. But Providence eventually pulled away, leaving Cincinnati without a win.

DePaul (0-3) v. #9 Syracuse (3-0)
68-85 F
My postgame reactions here.

January 10
#21 Louisville (2-0) v. #17 Villanova (1-2)
61-60 F
Easily the weekend’s best game. Scottie Reynolds drops only 11 in this contest, but he looked great doing it with an amazing spin move into a reverse lay up, getting the And 1. Louisville had a scare in that Villanova came back to take the lead, but Villanova could not capitalize on the several chances they had to win this game, with two free throws that could have put them ahead, or then getting the possession with less than five seconds left and getting a great pass inside, only to miss a lay up and several tip ins. Louisville escaped in this game.

# 22 West Virginia (1-2) v. #15 Marquette (4-0)
53-75 F
Jerel McNeal was the all star for Marquette as he made 26 points and earned three big steals to give Marquette a huge advantage in the second half. Marquette outscored WVU 46-22 in the second half as everything was clicking for Marquette. Both McNeal and Dominic James played all 40 minutes for Marquette. De’Sean Butler had 16 for West Virginia, but it was all Marquette in the second half, at one point going on an 11-0 run.

Providence (3-1) v, #10 Georgetown (2-2)
75-82 F
Providence had a three point lead at the half and an unblemished Big East record heading into this game. But it was too much G’town in the second half, as at one point they had 13 unanswered points. It was freshman center Greg Monroe spurring the second half action as he had 13 points and eight assists. Austin Freemen led the Hoyas in scoring with 18 points. Georgetown wins their 25th straight game against an unranked opponent at home.

Seton Hall (0-4) v. #13 Notre Dame (3-1)
79-88 F
This game was close and very entertaining for the majority of the game. Eugene Harvey put in some solid heroics for Seton Hall, giving them 21 points on the road. Kyle McAlarney also had a great day giving ND 18 points in 40 minutes. But once again the show was Luke Harangody going inside and hitting long two point jumpers for the Irish. He finished with 30 points and 16 boards, giving him his 12th double-double of the season and his second career game with 30 points and 15 or more rebounds. Notre Dame pulled away in this one right around the Under 8 timeout.

#5 Connecticut (3-1) v. Cincinnati (0-3)
81-72 F
Connecticut never trailed, but the Bearcats made it interesting for most of the game. Connecticut’s players were just too much for Cincy though. Jeff Adrien earned 13 points and 12 rebounds for his 38th career double-double, the most among active players in the league. Hasheem Thabeet had only eight points, but they were mostly rim rattling dunks inside. AJ Price also contributed, making 5-8 from long range and contributing at total of 22 points. Deonta Vaughn of Cincy added 19, but the Huskies 58% shooting from the floor let UConn to stay perfect on the road.

South Florida (1-2) v. DePaul (0-4)
80-58 F
After taking the lead at the start of the game with two points, DePaul then relinquished it and never had a chance of getting it back. Mac Koshwal, the center for DePaul, had a nice game inside with 18 points. But USF’s Dominique Jones had 22 points and eight rebounds, and Chris Howard had 12 points in ten assists. The team’s 41.2% from long range helped as well. USF wins this one convincingly, despite being the only team in the Big East still below .500.

#9 Syracuse (4-0) v. Rutgers (0-4)
82-66 F
My postgame reactions here.

January 11
St. John’s (1-2) v. #1 Pittsburgh (3-0)
67-90 F
DeJuan Blair was clearly the best player on the floor in this game in Pittsburgh’s first ever game as a #1 team. He had 23 points and 15 rebounds. Jermaine Dixon had 17 for the Panthers. SJU’s DJ Kennedy had 18 points in 40 minutes of work, but Pittsburgh was just too talented for the Red Storm, as they opened up the second half with a 17-6 run. That lifted them away as they cruised to a victory, ensuring that they keep that #1 for a little while longer.

January 12
#13 Notre Dame (3-2) v. #20 Louisville (3-0)
73-87 F/OT
This was a very entertaining game until the tip of overtime. Louisville then earned its biggest margin of victory in overtime in the history of the program. Luke Harangody had 28 points and 13 rebounds, but was held scoreless in the overtime period. He looked great on the floor though, making a ton of jumpers away from the basket. Kyle McAlarney also had 19 points, with 5-6 shooting from long range. However, Terrence Williams had 24 points and Samardo Samuels had 18 for Louisville. Terrence Williams looked phenomenal in overtime with some excellent moves in the paint. Louisville wins a huge game and remains unbeaten in league play.

Weekly Awards
Team of the week: Louisville

Player of the Week: Jeff Adrien

Best Game of the Week: January 10th - Louisville v. Villanova

Worst Game of the Week: January 7th - Providence v. Cincinnati

Kudos of the Week: Seton Hall for not giving up in games and fighting until the end.

Shame of the Week: Tie between DePaul for letting South Florida, a team with an overall record below .500, beat you at home, and Luke Harangody for scoring exactly zero points in overtime for his team against Louisville.

That was the past week in the Big East. It should get much more exciting this week with lots of juicy Top 25 matches occurring. Stay tuned for all the drama and heartbreak, as well as the thrill of victory.

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