Notre Dame highlighted a 3-4 night for the BIG EAST, knocking off California 57-44 in the Old Spice Classic semifinals. St. John's and No. 9/10 Syracuse had the other two wins to move the conference to 63-17 on the year.
The Fighting Irish (6-0) held California to five first-half points, taking a 21-5 lead into the break. Notre Dame held the Golden Bears to 2-of-25 shooting from the floor and 0-of-8 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes. The Irish held a double-digit advantage throughout the second half, with Cal only getting as close as 10 points but never mounting a serious threat following the five point first-half output. Forward Carleton Scott notched his second-straight double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Tyrone Nash and Scott Martin also scored in double figures with 11 points apiece.
No. 9/10 Syracuse (5-0) got 22 points from Kris Joseph as the Orange held off Michigan 53-50 to advance to the finals on the Legends Classic. SU trailed by one with five minutes to go, but Scoop Jardine drained a three with 4:32 remaining to give the Orange a lead they would not relinquish. Joseph added a jumper on the ensuing possession to extend the lead to four, and free throws down the stretch sealed the Syracuse victory. Rick Jackson registered his fourth double-double of the year with 10 points and 12 rebounds while Jardine finished with 11 points. Syracuse faces Georgia Tech in the title game in Atlantic City on Saturday.
St. John's (3-1) advanced to the title game of the Great Alaska Shootout with an 82-39 drubbing of Drake. The Red Storm used full-court pressure to hold the Bulldogs scoreless for the final 10:15 of the first half and break the game wide open. St. John's scored 23 straight points to take a 45-17 lead at the break, shooting 65% from the field in the first frame. The 39 points total was the fewest points allowed in the history of the Great Alaska Shootout. Forward Justin Brownlee had 13 points to lead all scorers, as 12 of the 13 Red Storm players scored in the contest.
No. 7/7 Villanova (5-1) lost its first game of the season in the finals of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, 78-68 to No. 24/24 Tennessee. The Volunteers got 18 points from Scottie Hopson while guard Melvin Goins had two key steals late in the contest to help Tennessee get past the Wildcats. The Villanova guard trio of Corey Fisher, Maalik Wayns and Corey Stokes shot just 7-of-30 in the finals, after combining for 61 points in the semifinal win over UCLA. Dominic Cheek got Villanova as close as one with 7:26 to play, but Tennessee responded with a 7-0 run to go up eight with 5:35 remaining. Mouphtaou Yarou led the Wildcats with 15 points, while Antonio Pena pulled down eight boards in the loss.
USF (3-3) lost a double-overtime heartbreaker to No. 23/RV Brigham Young 77-75. It took a Noah Hartsock buzzer-beater to send the Cougars to the victory in the third round of the South Padre Invitational as BYU improved to 7-0. Jimmer Fredette scored 32 points to lead all scorers, while Jackson Emery hit five 3's. The Bulls owned a 28-23 lead at the halftime break, getting a combined 13 points from Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Jarrid Famous. USF led by as many as 10 but BYU rally to bring the contest even. "It was a tough blow, that's a tough loss," said USF head coach Stan Heath. "We played our hearts out, we have nothing to be ashamed of and now it's just a case of how we are going to bounce back."
Rutgers (3-2) had a three game winning streak snapped, falling to St. Joseph's 76-70. The Scarlet Knights forced the Hawks to commit 17 turnovers and outscored St. Joseph's 40-24 in the paint in the game. The Hawks' hot shooting was too much for the Scarlet Knights, as Langston Galloway knocked-down 4-of-5 from 3-point range and scored 20 points in the contest to help lead St. Joseph's. DePaul (1-3) also dropped an 88-66 decision to Cal State Northridge in the 76 Classic. Freshman guard Brandon Young led the Blue Demons with 14 points.
Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse put their unbeaten records on the line Saturday. The Bearcats face Dayton in the Global Sports Main Event, the Hoyas host UNC-Asheville, the Cardinals entertain Marshall and the Panthers have a visit from Penn. Syracuse plays Georgia Tech in the championship game of the Legends Classic in Atlantic City, N.J. West Virginia heads to Charleston, W.Va., for a game against VMI, while Marquette makes a short road trip to face Milwaukee. USF, which fell in double-overtime to Brigham Young Friday, takes on Texas Tech in the third round of the South Padre Invitational. St. John's plays in the Great Alaska Shootout Championship. The Red Storm face Arizona State at midnight in a locally televised matchup.