BIG EAST teams picked up four wins in five games Thursday, including a victory by Seton Hall against a 2011 Final Four participant.
The Pirates scored a solid 69-54 win against Virginia Commonwealth as part of the DirecTV Charleston Classic as forward Herb Pope turned in his second double-double in as many games this year. Pope had game highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds for his 21st career double-double, while guard Jordan Theodore went 12-of-12 from the free throw line to finish with 20 points as well. The Pirates are off to a 2-0 start and face Saint Joseph's Friday in second-round action in the Charleston Classic.
Connecticut extended its winning streak to 14 games, dating to last year, with an 80-60 win against Maine at the XL Center. The Huskies placed five players in double figures and two big men - forward Tyler Olander and center Andre Drummond - registered double-doubles. Olander had 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Drummond had the best day of his young career with 11 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. The Huskies dominated the glass to the tune of a 57-28 rebounding advantage to improve to 3-0 this year.
Rutgers bounced back from its first loss of the year with a 91-75 win against Sacred Heart at the Rutgers Athletic Center. The Scarlet Knights had six players hit for double figures for the first time since the 2005-06 season as freshman guard Jerome Seagears led the way with 17 points. Rutgers made 21 of its 26 second-half field goal attempts (80.8 percent) and shot 63 percent from the field for the game, improving to 2-1.
West Virginia similarly rebounded from its first setback with a 97-62 win against Alcorn State at the West Virginia Coliseum. The Mountaineers raced to a 44-28 halftime lead and finished with a 57-35 rebounding advantage to get to 2-1. Forward Kevin Jones led five WVU players in double figures with 29 points and 13 rebounds, including 10 offensive boards.
The lone BIG EAST team to fall Thursday night was St. John's, which dropped an 81-72 decision to No. 15/16 Arizona in the semifinal round of the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden. The young Red Storm held an eight-point lead in the second half, but foul trouble claimed two starters and the veteran Wildcats were able to mount a comeback. Guard Nurideen Lindsey led all scorers with 18 points for St. John's, which faces No. 19/18 Texas A&M Friday in the 2K Sports Classic consolation game.
Elsewhere Friday, Villanova hosts Delaware, Marquette faces Winthrop in the Paradise Jam and Notre Dame hosts Delaware State. Saturday's ledger has Louisville visiting Butler, USF against Old Dominion in the Naismith Hall of Fame Tipoff, Presbyterian at Cincinnati, Colgate at Syracuse, Florida A&M at Providence and Marquette against either Mississippi or Drake in the Paradise Jam.