VILLANOVA – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – All eight BIG EAST teams in action on Tuesday ended the night 1-0 and all posted double-digit victories. Some newcomers made some impressive contributions and the conference went undefeated in its season openers.
Villanova, the reigning NCAA champion, raised their championship banner at the refurbished Finneran Pavilion and reached the century mark in points with a 100-77 win against Morgan State. Seniors Eric Paschall and Phil Booth led the way with 26 and 17 points, respectively.
Marquette, picked second in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll, subdued UMBC 67-42 in the brand-new Fiserv Forum. Markus Howard and Sam Hauser each finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Theo John added 11 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. MU held UMBC to 22.6 percent shooting from the field, the lowest opponent percentage in the coach Steve Wojciechowski era.
Providence freshman A.J. Reeves poured in a game-high 29 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the floor in the Friars’ 77-67 victory against Siena. Alpha Diallo added 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
St. John’s cruised to a 76-55 win over Loyola, Md. at Carnesecca Arena. Shamorie Ponds scored a team-high 20 points. In his Red Storm debut, transfer Mustapha Heron contributed 15 points and seven rebounds.
Xavier head coach Travis Steele was victorious in his head coaching debut when the Musketeers knocked off IUPUI 82-69. Graduate transfer Ryan Welage scored 24 points in his first Xavier game. He shot 6-of-13 from beyond the arc.
The second year of the Patrick Ewing coaching era began with Georgetown recording a 68-53 win over Md.-Eastern Shore. Jessie Govan scored 13 points and freshman Josh LeBlanc impressed with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Seton Hall’s Myles Powell posted the highest scoring total of the night among league players with his 30-point effort in the Pirates’ 89-49 win over Wagner at Walsh Gymnasium. He shot 10-of-13 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Michael Nzei added 11 points and seven boards.
Creighton turned up the defense in the second half and beat Western Illinois 78-67. The Bluejays led only 43-41 at halftime, but held the Leathernecks to shoot only 32.4 percent in the second half. Mitch Ballock and Martin Krampelj led four CU players in double figures with 13 points apiece.
DePaul opens its season Wednesday night with a home game against Bethune-Cookman. The Blue Demons roster has nine newcomers including two graduate transfers and one now-eligible transfer. FS1 has the telecast at 7:30 p.m. ET.