BIG EAST teams went 7-1 on Thursday.
Forward James Southerland and guard Brandon Triche each hit a pair of 3-pointers to key a 19-point surge that included five straight makes from beyond the arc in the final 5:43 of the first half, as Syracuse defeated Tulane 80-61 to remain unbeaten. Guard Dion Waiters finished the game with 15 points while forward Kris Joseph registered 13. Syracuse returns to action on Dec. 28 when it hosts Seton Hall at 7 p.m.
Georgetown took a seven-point halftime lead and turned it into a 20-point margin in the first eight minutes after the half, including a 7-0 run to start the period. The Hoyas defeated Memphis 70-59 for their second victory over the Tigers this season. Guard Jason Clark led Georgetown with 18 points, five rebounds and four steals. Georgetown opens BIG EAST play at Louisville on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.
Forward Kevin Jones had 16 points and 13 rebounds to lead West Virginia past Missouri State 70-68 in the Las Vegas Classic, giving coach Bob Huggins his 700th coaching victory. Guard Daryl Bryant added 15 points while guard Gary Browne registered 13 points for the Mountaineers. Trailing 63-60 late in regulation, Browne hit a fall-away 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to force overtime. West Virginia faces Baylor tonight in the final game of the Las Vegas Classic. The game is scheduled to tip at 9 p.m. on ESPN.
Guard Shabazz Napier scored 24 points to lead Connecticut over in-state rival Fairfield 79-71. Guard Jeremy Lamb added 18 points while forward Andre Drummond had 16 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Connecticut opens BIG EAST play at USF on Dec. 28 at 9 p.m.
Guard Junior Cadougan tied his career-high with 15 points as Marquette beat cross-town rival Milwaukee, 64-50, for the 39th straight time. Guard Darius Johnson-Odom and forward Davante Gardner added 12 points each. The Golden Eagles host Vanderbilt at 9 p.m. on Dec. 29.
Guard Maalik Wayns came off the bench to score 12 points and led Villanova to a 73-52 victory over American University. The Wildcats held AU to 34.5 percent shooting from the floor and committed only five turnovers. Villanova opens BIG EAST play at West Virginia on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.
Rutgers used an 18-0 run early in the second half to pull away from NJIT and secure a 77-53 victory. Guard Myles Mack led four players in double figures with 16 points. Forward Gilvydas Biruta added 15 points and seven rebounds. Rutgers hosts Florida on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m.
Forward Ron Anderson Jr. scored 12 points while forward Augustus Gilchrist added 11 points in a 53-51 loss at Southern Mississippi. Gilchrist, who went over the 1,000-point mark for his career, also had a team-high seven rebounds. USF hosts Connecticut at 9 p.m. on Dec. 28.
Five BIG EAST teams play Friday before the conference has three off days around Christmas. Louisville looks to enter the holiday break unbeaten as the 11-0 Cardinals host Western Kentucky on ESPN2. Pittsburgh goes for its 10th straight win as the Panthers take on Wagner on ESPNU at 8 p.m. West Virginia, which has won five straight, faces No. 6/7 Baylor at 9 p.m. on ESPN in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic. Seton Hall has won seven in a row and the Pirates visit Longwood Friday in their last nonconference game of the season. Providence, the winner of six straight, also takes to the road as the Friars make a short jaunt to face Rhode Island in the 122nd meeting of the Ocean State rivals. The Friars hope to snap a string of eight straight series wins by the home team. Cincinnati, which has won three straight by an average of 33 points, hosts winless Chicago State at Fifth Third Arena.