Big East Day Two: Upsets, and Status Quo
Friday, March 14, 2014
Quarterfinal Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York is a long day...made even longer if you lose. Somehow, for Seton Hall, Providence, Creighton and Xavier...they won't mind going back to work Friday.
The 2014 Big East Tournament will move into the semifinal round Friday night, beginning at 7:00 pm, with 8th seeded Seton Hall facing #4 Providence and 2nd seeded Creighton getting #3 Xavier. Seton Hall pulled the real shocker of the day with their buzzer-beating 64-63 conquest of regular-season champion Villanova in the first game of the day.
Led by big man Eugene Teague's 19 points and 12 rebounds, the Pirates held a lead for most of the game against the Wildcats, but needed the shot at the buzzer by Sterling Gibbs to go...to move on and face the Friars. Seton Hall provided 'Nova with plenty of looks, but the 'Cats could not connect...to the tune of 37% shooting for the game. Combine that number with 21% from three and only 60% from the line, that's a tough day for anyone on the floor. The Pirates win back-to-back games in the Big East Tournament (they defeated Butler 51-50 Wednesday night) for the first time in 13 years.
"It was big time. You beat the #3 team in the country, it's always a good feeling," Gibbs said. "You come into the tournament knowing that you have to win four games in four days, so to just get one step closer to that is definitely a great feeling."
"These guys have showed great character all year," SHU coach Kevin Willard said, with the Pirates improving to 17-16 on the year. "They've battled through a lot of injuries. They've battled through tough losses. I think that's our ninth one-point game this year. These guys have a lot of heart, they have a lot of character, and they deserve to win."
As for the evening session, no problems for 2nd seeded Creighton, as the Blue Jays blew away DePaul 84-62. Doug McDermott led all scorers with 35 points - a tourney record for a BET debut - while Jahenns Manigat chipped in 14. CU shot a torrid 60% from the floor for the game, and 63% from the three-point stripe. They certainly have a hot hand going. Brandon Young scored 22 for the Blue Demons in his final game for DePaul, which upset Georgetown Wednesday night in the opening round.
In the nightcap, Xavier and Marquette battled back and forth, but the Musketeers maintained a slim lead most of the way into the second half and held on for a 68-65 win over the Golden Eagles. Justin Martin found his range from long distance for 19 points, 3-of-6 from outside the arc, while Semaj Christon added 18. Injured center Matt Stainbrook returned to the Musketeers lineup after injuring a knee two weeks ago, and came off of the bench for eight points in 15 minutes. Deonte Burton, who made the Big East all-Rookie team, led Marquette with a career high 23 points...and Todd Mayo scored 21. Mayo missed a three in the final seconds that could have given MU a tie, and potentially a 7th overtime game on the season.
MU falls to 17-15 (despite shooting 57% from the floor) and waits for a possible spot in the NIT, while XU improves to 21-11, and faces Creighton in the second half of the Friday night semifinal doubleheader at Madison Square Garden in a 9:30 tip-off.
Big East Notes
Gibbs' older brother, Ashton, played in the BET with the Pittsburgh Panthers...Teague has back-to-back double-doubles in the tournament, and is averaging 15 points and 9.5 rebounds in four career tournament games...Villanova is the first #1 seed to fall in the quarterfinals since #9 UConn upset Pitt 76-74 in 2011...Creighton's McDermott scored 27 points in the first half against DePaul, breaking former Friar Billy Donovan's Big East tourney record for points in a half. Donovan shared the mark with UConn's Donyell Marshall...DePaul made its first appearance in the tourney quarterfinals...Creighton and Xavier are the first Big East newcomers to reach the tournament semifinals in their first year in the conference since Villanova did it in 1981...attendance for the night session - 13,807...
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