NEW YORK – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – On a Saturday slate of games played in front of big crowds, St. John’s grabbed the most attention with an 81-77 victory over No. 4 Duke at a sold-out Madison Square Garden gathering of 19,812.
St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds
After a string of close losses in BIG EAST play, St. John’s ended its 11-game losing streak behind the play of Shamorie Ponds, who poured in 33 points to go with seven rebounds, four steals and three assists. His 3-pointer as the shot clock was running down gave the Red Storm a 77-74 lead with 38 seconds left and was noted by both schools’ head coaches as the critical basket in the game.
At a sold-out Cintas Center (10,758), Georgetown took the home-standing Xavier into overtime, but the Musketeers prevailed 96-91. Trevon Bluiett scored a game-high 31 points for Xavier (21-3, 9-2) and kept the Musketeers unbeaten at home 15-0. It was a game that neither team led by more than five points. Jessie Govan led Georgetown with 21 points and Marcus Derrickson added 19 points and 15 rebounds. Freshmen Jamorko Pickett and Jahvon Blair scored 23 and 19 points, respectively, for Georgetown (13-9, 3-8).
The BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee was sold out (18,958), but the visiting Providence Friars came away with a 77-75 win at Marquette. Alpha Diallo led five Friars (15-8, 6-4) in double figures with 16 points. Kyron Cartwright added 15 points, eight rebounds and made a critical steal on Marquette’s final possession of the game. Markus Howard had 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Golden Eagles (13-10, 4-7).
Hinkle Fieldhouse was just a few short of capacity (8,879) when Butler defeated DePaul 80-57. Kelan Martin again showed the way for the Bulldogs with team highs of 26 points, six rebounds and six assists. Butler (17-7, 7-4) helped force the Blue Demons into 23 turnovers. DePaul (9-13, 2-8) was led Marin Maric’s 15 points.
BIG EAST fans can start their Super Bowl Sunday with Seton Hall at No. 1 Villanova at noon on FOX. The Pirates (17-5, 6-3) are coming off a 73-57 win over Providence on Wednesday. The Wildcats beat Creighton 98-78 on Thursday. Villanova (21-1, 8-1) won all three meetings against Seton Hall last season, including a victory in the BIG EAST Tournament semifinals. The Pirates and Butler have the most wins over Villanova (3) since the BIG EAST moved to its current 10-team alignment.