NEW YORK – (Staff report from Official News Release) – A 3-0 Thursday for BIG EAST teams included victories for Xavier and St. John’s in the Gavitt Tipoff Games and a triumph for Providence in the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden.
No. 15 Xavier went on the road to Wisconsin and recorded an 80-70 win in one of college basketball’s tougher environments. The Musketeers (3-0) closed the game with a 16-4 run behind stalwarts Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura. Bluiett scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half and pulled down nine rebounds. He leads the BIG EAST in scoring with a 25.3 average. Macura posted 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
St. John’s also moved to 3-0 with a 79-56 win over Nebraska at Carnesecca Arena. Shamorie Ponds showed his all-around skills with 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Justin Simon had his second double-double in three games in a Red Storm uniform with 13 points and 12 rebounds. St. John’s held Nebraska to 28.1 percent shooting from the field.
Providence held off Washington 77-70 in the semifinals of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden. It’s the fifth straight year the Friars have advanced to the finals of an in-season tournament. Rodney Bullock paced five players in double figures with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds. PC plays Saint Louis for the 2K Classic championship at 7:30 p.m. ET.
In addition to Providence gunning for the 2K title, Friday’s schedule shows DePaul at Illinois in the final contest of the 2017 Gavitt Tipoff Games. The Blue Demons (1-1) and the Illini have not met on the court in 60 years.
No. 5 Villanova will play Lafayette at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. in a home game for the Wildcats as the Pavilion, their campus home, undergoes renovations. FS2 will telecast the game at 8 p.m.