INDIANAPOLIS – In a league season when home teams have not won at their usual pace, both home court squads picked up victories on Saturday while St. John’s stepped outside of conference play and lost at Duke.
Going into Sunday’s games, home teams held only a 25-20 (.556) edge in conference play with 20 of the 45 conference games decided by six points or less.
In the FOX All-Access Game where the respective head coaches, Butler’s LaVall Jordan and Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard, could be heard live throughout the game, Butler held on to beat Seton Hall 70-68 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The result, which ended the Bulldogs’ three-game losing streak, left both teams at 4-6 in the BIG EAST standings.
Butler’s Paul Jorgensen and Nate Fowler came off the bench to score 18 and 15 points, respectively. The Pirates (13-9), who rallied from a 17-point deficit in only six minutes to tie the game, were led by Myles Powell’s 21 points. The Bulldogs are 13-10 overall.
DePaul defeated Providence 67-55 with a 16-2 run to close the game. Forward Paul Reed continued his productive streak with game highs of 18 points and 15 rebounds. The Blue Demons had a 30-18 advantage in points in the paint. Providence freshman David Duke scored 15 points and Alpha Diallo finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. The Friars (13-9, 3-6) were plagued by poor shooting, making only 28.6 percent from the floor.
St. John’s stayed within range of second-ranked Duke for a half before the Blue Devils pulled away for a 91-61 win at home. The Johnnies (16-6, 4-5) trailed 47-37 at the break. L.J. Figueroa led St. John’s with 14 points and eight rebounds. Shamorie Ponds scored 11 points.
The BIG EAST can provide two games to start your Super Bowl Sunday. At noon ET, No. 14 Villanova hosts Georgetown at Wells Fargo Center on FS1. The streaking Wildcats (17-4, 8-0) have won nine in a row. The Hoyas (14-7, 4-4) are coming off an 80-73 win over Xavier.
At 1 p.m., Xavier plays at Creighton on FSN. Both teams will be trying to bounce back from losses earlier in the week. The Musketeers (11-11, 3-6) lost to Georgetown and Creighton (12-9, 3-5) was beaten 83-67 by St. John’s.