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Big East has some close calls but remained unscathed — until today

November 15, 2011 Columns No Comments

Editor’s note: West Virginia just lost to Kent State 70-60 in a game played this morning as part of ESPN’s 25-hour marathon of college hoops. Figures.

Now that we are a week into the 2010-11 college basketball season, the Big East started the day as one of four conferences that could say every one of their teams made it through the opening weekend without suffering a loss; the ACC, Big 12 and Mountain West are the others.

Although you would expect most of the Big East to make easy work of their early season cupcake opponents, the parity of college basketball that has become prevalent in recent years showed itself once again with some big-time programs needing some solid play to hold off so-called mid-majors.

St. John’s kicked off the BE season with a pair of wins against William & Mary and Lehigh last Monday and Wednesday, respectively. Both games weren’t all that convincing for St. John’s, however, the Johnnies leaned hard on sophomore Nurideen Lindsey and junior college transfer God’s Gift Achiuwa, and both answered with big games.

Let’s take a look at some of the other close calls.

Friday, Nov. 11:

West Virginia 78, Oral Roberts 71: The Mountaineers opened their season facing a stout Oral Roberts squad that was the preseason pick to win Summit League. Kevin Jones led four West Virginia players in double-digits with 20 points. Truck Bryant added 17 points, including the Mountaineers last eight.

Rutgers 62, Dartmouth 56: Another young team, the Scarlet Nights jumped out to an early lead, only to be matched by Dartmouth. Rutgers got their lead up to eight in the second halfbut couldn’t close the door completely, mostly due to their lack of ball security. The Scarlet Knights turned the ball over 16 times. Dane Miller led the way for Rutgers with 12 points.

No. 4 Connecticut 70, Columbia 57

No. 8 Louisville 83, Tennessee-Martin 48

No. 11 Pittsburgh 89, Albany 56

No. 21 Marquette 91, Mount St. Mary’s 37

Villanova 106, Monmouth 70

DePaul 91, Texas-Pan American 72

Saturday, Nov. 12

South Florida 61, Vermont 59: A close game throughout, South Florida’s lead was cut to a point with 10.5 seconds remaining. Shaun Noriega made the second of two free throws, giving the Bulls a two-point edge. Vermont’s Four McGlynn missed a game-tying layup with one second remaining and Matt Glass’ putback came after the buzzer, allowing South Florida to escape. SF’s Noriega led the Bulls with 17 points, and both Augustus Gilchrist and Victor Rudd Jr. had 12 points.

Seton Hall 75, St. Francis (NY) 71 OT: The Hall’s senior guard Jordan Theodore scored a career-high 25 points, including a game-tying bucket with a second remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime. Herb Pope was a force down low for the Pirates recording his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Trailing most of the game, Seton Hall scored the last six points of regulation and took over in the extra period to get their first win of the season.

No. Syracuse 78, Fordham 53

Georgetown 83, Savannah State 54

Notre Dame 80, Mississippi Valley State 67

Providence 72, Fairleigh Dickinson 61

Sunday, Nov. 14

No. 8 Louisville 68, Lamar 48: The Cards didn’t have much trouble with Lamar but took a major hit as Mike Marra went down with a torn ACL. He’ll miss the rest of the season.  The injuries woes continue for Louisville who has already dealt with Peyton Silva, Stephan Van Treese, Rakeem Buckles and Wayne Blackshear all missing time due to injury.

No. 11 Pittsburgh 86, Rider 78: The high expectations of Pitt this year could have taken a hit as they played a sloppy opener against Rider that required a 16-5 to end the game to give the Panthers their second victory of the year. Ashton Gibbs scored 24 points and Nasir Robinson added 22

No. 22 Cincinnati 65, Alabama State 40

St. John’s 82, UMBC 59

Monday, Nov. 15

Providence 80, Fairfield 72: In a game that pitted new Providence coach Ed Cooley against his former team, the Friars got a big game from Vincent Council, who had 26 points and seven assists, and Bryce Cotton, who scored 24 points. Although the win is a good building block for Providence, it probably put a dent in Fairfield’s NCAA Tournament hopes. Already with the tournament, you ask? Yup.

Notre Dame 59, Detroit 53: Without their leader and top returning scorer, Tim Abromaitis, the Fighting Irish found themselves in a dogfight with Detroit. The Titans’ Ray McCallum lit up the Irish for 20 points. With 14 minutes left, McCallum scored giving Detroit a 41-33 lead. ND answered with a 14-0 run and kept Detroit at bay the rest of the way.

No. 4 Connecticut 78, Wagner 66

No. 5 Syracuse 92, Manhattan 56

No. 21 Marquette 99,  Norfolk State 68

Georgetown 86, UNC Greensboro 45

South Florida 81, Marist 67

DePaul 80, Mississippi Valley State 70

 

Game to look forward to:

St. John’s vs. (16) Arizona, 11/17, 9:30 p.m., ESPN2: The Johnnies will have their tallest task of the season Thursday when Arizona comes into Madison Square Garden for the 2K Sports Classic. Sean Miller’s Wildcats have been far from convincing in their first three games, and this is the type of game that Lavin can get his guys up for, especially playing in the Garden where the Red Storm thrived last season.

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