Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Pitt, Syracuse, Georgetown All Fall in Big East; Wheels Falling Off at Maryland?
Playing the final college basketball game at the 42-year Spectrum in Philadelphia, No. 21 Villanova stunned No. 3 Pitt 67-57 Wednesday night.
The win marked the first signature win of the year for the Wildcats (16-4, 4-3 Big East), and their first win over a ranked team in five tries this year. Pitt, a former No. 1, dropped to 18-2, 6-2.
Reggie Redding paced ‘Nova with 18 points, including a perfect 10-of-10 from the stripe. Dante Cunningham added 15 points and Scottie Reynolds 10.
Sam Young paced Pitt with 14 points and nine rebounds, Brad Wannamaker tallied 13 and Levance Fields 11. DeJuan Blair played in foul trouble for much of the game and finished with seven points and nine boards.
Redding drove in for a layup on Blair with about three minutes remaining to push Villanova’s lead to 59-51.
Fields made two of four free throws to cut it to 59-53.
Former St. Benedict’s Prep star Corey Stokes made 1-of-2 to push it to 60-53 with 2:17 on the clock.
Pitt turned it over on its ensuing possession when Corey Fisher stepped in and poked the ball away from Fields.
Fisher then made 1-of-2 l shots to extend the Cats’ lead to 61-53 with 1:52 left.
The Spectrum opened in 1967 and was the home for almost 30 years for the NBA’s Sixers and NHL’s Flyers. It hosted two Final Fours (1976 and 1981, both won by Indiana) as well as what many consider one of the best NCAA tournament games, the 1992 East Regional final when Christian Laettner hit a turnaround from the top of the key at the buzzer to give Duke a 104-103 victory over Kentucky.
LOUISVILLE WINS EIGHTH STRAIGHTLOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)—Louisville’s offense is starting to catch up to its defense.
Edgar Sosa scored 16 points, Samardo Samuels had 14 and Earl Clark added 12 points and seven rebounds as the seventh-ranked Cardinals raced by South Florida 80-54 on Wednesday night.
Terrence Williams had five points, 10 rebounds and six assists as Louisville (16-3, 7-0 Big East) won its eighth straight to keep pace with No. 8 Marquette atop the nation’s toughest conference.
Dominique Jones led the Bulls with 19 points and seven rebounds and Jesus Verdejo had 10 points, but South Florida (7-14, 2-6) simply couldn’t keep up in the second half as Louisville quickly broke open a close game.
Louisville’s 800th game at Freedom Hall looked an awful lot like most of the 799 that came before it. The Cardinals improved to 664-136 at the venerable gym with the victory.
PROVIDENCE TOPS SYRACUSEPROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP)—Sharaud Curry scored a season-high 22 points to lead six players in double figures, carrying Providence to a 100-94 upset over 15th-ranked Syracuse on Wednesday night.
Marshon Brooks scored 17 points, and Geoff McDermott and Jonathan Kale each scored 15 for Providence (14-6, 6-2 Big East), which won for the seventh time in nine games and matched its best Big East start since 2000-01. Randall Hanke and Weyinmi Efejuku had 12 points apiece for Providence.
Jonny Flynn led Syracuse (17-5, 5-4) with a career-high 35 points and Eric Devendorf had 27. The Orange lost their fourth in five games.
Providence opened a 14-point lead after consecutive 3s by Curry and Brooks 22 seconds apart midway into the second half and Syracuse never moved closer than five points the rest of the way.
CINCINNATI DOWNS GEORGETOWNCINCINNATI (AP)—Deonta Vaughn scored 20 points, and Cincinnati extended No. 25 Georgetown’s midseason misery by sending the Hoyas to their fourth straight loss, 65-57 on Wednesday night.
The Hoyas (12-7, 3-5) were coming off a deflating 65-60 loss at Seton Hall, which hadn’t won a game in the Big East until Sunday. Afterward, coach John Thompson III proclaimed that his team was in a “bad situation right now.”
It got a whole lot worse against Cincinnati (14-7, 4-4), which finally got a distinguishing win. The Bearcats were 0-2 against ranked teams this season.
Chris Wright scored 15 points for Georgetown, which saw its usually dependable defense fold down the stretch. Cincinnati shot 45.8 percent from the field.
It’s Georgetown’s longest losing streak since 2004-05, Thompson’s first season.
WEST VIRGINIA DOWNS ST. JOHN’SMORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)—Da’Sean Butler scored 21 points to lead West Virginia to a 75-52 win over St. John’s on Wednesday night.
The Mountaineers (15-5, 4-3 Big East Conference) used a stifling defensive effort in the first half to build a 36-20 halftime lead. WVU scored 13 points off of 13 Red Storm turnovers and limited St. John’s to just 34 percent shooting from the field in the opening half.
West Virginia pushed its lead to 31 points on a 3-pointer with 5:38 remaining in the second half. St. John’s was never able to trim the deficit to less than 16 points.
Alex Ruoff added 17 for the Mountaineers, while Devin Ebanks chipped in 10.
Paris Horne led St. John’s (11-9, 2-6) with 16 points, while D.J. Kennedy netted 14.
WAINWRIGHT WILL RETURN
DePaul AD Jean Lenit Ponsetto says head coach Jerry Wainwright will return next season. Wainwright, one of the nicest and smartest men in the business, is 51-60 in four seasons.
WHEELS FALLING OFF AT MARYLAND?
Are the wheels falling off for Gary Williams at Maryland?
Williams says it was not his decision to release former recruits Gus Gilchrist and Tyree Evans even though Maryland assistant AD Kathy Worthington says he was the primary decision-maker in the process.
“It wasn’t my fault that they’re not here,” Williams said, according to ESPN. “Kathy Worthington doesn’t speak for me. She has never won a national championship.”
Meanwhile, Maryland F Jin Soo Kim was ruled academically ineligible for the spring semester.
Maryland (13-7, 2-4 ACC) has lost four of five, including an 85-44 loss at Duke.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.