Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Big East Briefs

West Virginia

It was another ho-hum week for the No. 9 Mountaineers (17-4, 8-0), with two close home wins against underachieving conference rivals Notre Dame (10-10, 1-8) and Cincinnati (16-8, 5-5), helping them break back into the top 10 after a one-week absence. West Virginia (17-4, 8-0) now sits alone atop the Big East with a perfect 8-0 record, though they have yet to put distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. They can solidify their Big East standing – or fall back to earth – as they visit No. 14 Pitt and No. 15 Georgetown (16-4, 7-2) this week. Senior center (and new father) Kevin Pittsnogle continues to set the pace for the Mountaineers, leading them in points, rebounds, blocks and 3-point shots per game. West Virginia tips off in Pittsburgh (17-3, 6-3) on Thursday at 9 p.m. The game will be aired on ESPN.

Villanova

After two closer-than-they-should-have-been wins at South Florida (6-15, 0-8) and Notre Dame (10-10, 1-8), the No. 4 Wildcats (17-2, 8-1) barely squeaked by two unranked teams again last week. arquette (16-7, 6-4) led Villanova by five at the half, and it took 20-plus point efforts from the Wildcats’ productive shooting backcourt tandem of seniors Allan Ray and Randy Foye to dig them out of the hole and notch the victory. Villanova then struggled to defeat a reeling Louisville (15-8, 3-7) team, winning primarily because of the once again prodigious three-point shooting from Ray and Foye. Villanova is going to be in a lot of trouble if their frontcourt continues to be invisible. The injury bug appears to have bitten senior forward Jason Fraser again, limiting him to only 11 minutes in the Louisville game and no time against arquette. Eventually, the Wildcats’ shooters will go cold, and they’ll need their talented frontcourt, especially Fraser, to stand up and prove that this team is not as one-dimensional as it appears.

Connecticut

The No. 1 Huskies won their ninth consecutive game Saturday, outplaying then-No. 22 Indiana on the road in Bloomington behind the strong play of sophomore forward Rudy Gay. The player-of-the-year candidate poured in 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the 88-80 Huskies’ victory. The win was the Huskies’ second in a row against ranked opponents. Behind the physical play of Gay and junior center Josh Boone, Connecticut edged then-No. 9 Pittsburgh (17-3, 6-3) in a battle of Big East powers. Boone scored 16 points and brought down seven rebounds while Gay led the Huskies with 22 points. The Huskies will go for their 10th straight victory on Feb. 8 when they host the inconsistent Syracuse Orange.

Pittsburgh

The ninth-ranked Pittsburgh (17-3, 6-3) Panthers came to Washington to take on the Hoyas this weekend, playing before a crowd of more than 13,000. Pitt jumped out to a large lead behind the play of 7-foot center Aaron Gray, who scored all 15 of his points in the first period. The Hoyas trailed 33-18 with 3:29 left in the first half, but Georgetown put together a late run to trail by only seven at the break. The Hoyas chipped away at Pitt’s lead for the first 10 minutes of the second half until breaking through on Brandon Bowman’s three-pointer with 9:39 left in the game, putting the Hoyas ahead 48-47. Pittsburgh (17-3, 6-3) was never able to regain the lead, and the final score read 61-58. The loss was the Panthers’ second straight Big East defeat, after losing 80-76 to No. 1 UConn on Jan. 31. The two losses drop Pittsburgh to fifth place in the conference with a 6-3 record, (17-3 overall).

Cincinnati

The Bearcats were playing the last-place South Florida (6-15, 0-8) Bulls last Tuesday, but after losing five of their previous six games, a win was necessary. The Bearcats finally delivered with a 73-60 victory. Star senior forward Eric Hicks got help in the form of junior forward Cedric McGowan, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds in the game. The tag team helped to prove that Cincinnati (16-8, 5-5) could beat the last-place Big East team, but on Saturday the Bearcats proved they could not beat first-place West Virginia (17-4, 8-0) as Cincinnati (16-8, 5-5) fell 66-57 to the ountaineers, in a game filled with backdoor cuts and three-point shots. Now, the short-term goal for the Bearcats is to build some momentum to scrape their way into the Big East tournament.

Syracuse

Syracuse narrowly escaped losing its fifth straight game on Saturday when the Orange beat Rutgers 86-84 in overtime. Syracuse (16-6, 4-4) relied on a balanced scoring attack, led by junior forwards Demetris Nichols (24 points, nine rebounds) and Terrence Roberts (16 points, nine rebounds), and freshman guard Eric Devendorf (21 points). The game was tight throughout and Syracuse led by three towards the end of regulation, but Rutgers’ arquis Webb forced overtime with a three-point shot in the final second. With Rutgers(13-9, 3-6) leading by two points in the closing seconds of overtime, the ball bounced to Syracuse’s Roberts who drained a decisive three as time expired. The victory was bittersweet for the Orange, as star Gerry McNamara injured his thigh in the first half and was unable to return. On the other side, Rutgers’ star guard Quincy Douby, the leading scorer in the Big East, was virtually unstoppable in defeat, scoring 41 points with 27 coming from behind the arc. The Orange now hold eighth place in the Big East with a 4-4 record, (16-6 overall).

St. John’s

After looking like giant-killers last week, defeating both then-No. 17 Louisville and then-No. 9 Pittsburgh (17-3, 6-3), St. John’s (10-10, 3-6) fell back down to earth with a thud last week. Unranked Marquette (16-7, 6-4) and Providence (10-10, 3-6) beat SJU by sizable margins. Making things worse, sophomore reserve forward Dexter Gray withdrew from the university and is planning on transferring. While Gray was by no means a star, he was a serviceable big man whose departure will weaken St. John’s thin team. That said, the fate of the squad still rests with junior guard Daryl “Showtime” Hill. If he can get closer to the 21 points he averaged per game last year, then the Red Storm have a shot at improving on its 3-6 Big East record.

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