Men's Basketball Roundup - Dec. 22

BIG EAST teams notched a perfect Tuesday night, winning all four games on the schedule. BIG EAST teams are a combined 141-33 (.810) this season and 103-7 (.936) at home. Going into Wednesday's play, the BIG EAST can claim three of the eight undefeated teams in the nation. St. John's helped reduce that number on Tuesday with a win over Northwestern in the title game of the MSG Holiday Festival.
The Red Storm (7-3) defeated previously unbeaten Northwestern 85-69 to win their 16th MSG Holiday Festival title. Forward Justin Brownlee was named tournament MVP after scoring 21 points and grabbing six rebounds in the final. Brownlee was also MVP of the Great Alaska Shootout. St. John's used blistering hot shooting in the second half to pull away from the Wildcats. The Red Storm were 16-of-20 (80 percent) from the field in the second frame, while holding Northwestern to 29.7 percent. Guard Dwight Hardy led the team with 24 points, while Justin Burrell (17), D.J. Kennedy (13) and Dwayne Polee II (10) each registered double figures.
Cincinnati (11-0) remained unbeaten with a 64-48 win over Miami (Ohio). Guard Dion Dixon scored a career-high 23 points to help the Bearcats pull away in the second half. Forward Ibrahima Thomas added 11 points and 13 rebounds. UC won the rebounding battle 40-27 and committed a season-low seven turnovers to help the school to its best start and longest win streak since 2004-05 when the team also began 11-0. Cincinnati closed the first-half on a 15-1 run over the final six minutes to take a 35-28 lead at the break and never trailed in the second half.
Marquette (9-3) had a comfortable 102-77 win over Mississippi. Forward Jae Crowder scored a season-high 22 points, while guard Darius Johnson-Odom added 19 points and six rebounds. The Golden Eagles shot 50 percent and capped a five-game homestand with its second-straight win.
Providence (11-2) survived a scare from Sacred Heart with an 84-76 win at home. Forward Marshon Brooks scored 19 of his team-high 25 points in the first half to lead the Friars. Brooks notched his sixth double-double of the season by also grabbing 12 rebounds. It was the seventh-straight game the forward has scored at-least 25 points. PC led by as many as 12 in the second half, but the Pioneers trailed by only three with 1:04 remaining before a Bilal Dixon dunk that gave the Friars a five-point lead. Guard Vincent Council added 16 points and five assists for Providence.

Nine games mark the BIG EAST schedule on Wednesday night, with three teams hitting the road. Louisville plays its first road game of the year against Western Kentucky at 7 p.m., while USF heads to Cleveland State. Villanova will also be at Monmouth for a 7 p.m. start. Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Notre Dame and DePaul each have home games on Wednesday night.