Syracuse University will play the University of Cincinnati and the University of Louisville will face the University of Notre Dame in today’s semifinals of the Big East conference men’s basketball tournament.
Dion Waiters scored 18 points to lead top-seeded Syracuse to a 58-55 win over the University of Connecticut at Madison Square Garden in New York yesterday. Orange forward James Southerland scored all 10 of his points in the final eight minutes for Syracuse (31-1), which rallied from an eight-point deficit.
The ninth-seeded Huskies (20-13) were unable to successfully defend their tournament title, which they won from the same seeding position before eventually capturing the national championship last season.
“The run they made last year left a sour taste in my mouth,” Waiters said in a televised interview. “I just wanted to come out here and get revenge.”
Syracuse, ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, led 27-24 at halftime before Connecticut took an eight-point advantage with 14 minutes remaining.
The Orange worked their way back into the game as Connecticut went more than seven minutes without a field goal. The Huskies, who shot 34 percent from the field, got 15 points from Shabazz Napier and 14 from Andre Drummond.
Yancy Gates scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the No. 4 Cincinnati Bearcats (23-9), who got the decisive points on a running shot in the lane by Cashmere Wright with nine seconds remaining. Henry Sims, who led the Hoyas with 22 points and 15 rebounds, missed a 3-point shot as the game ended.
No. 7 seed Louisville, led by Kyle Kuric’s 20 points, upset second-seeded Marquette 84-71. Peyton Siva scored 18 for the Cardinals (24-9, 10-8 Big East). Darius Johnson-Odom had 23 points for the Golden Eagles (25-7, 14-4 Big East).
In the final Big East game yesterday, Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton each scored 12 points and the third-seeded Fighting Irish (22-10, 13-5 Big East) outscored South Florida 12-8 in overtime to earn a 57-53 win. Victor Rudd Jr. had 16 points for the Bulls (20-13, 12-6 Big East).
The winners of the semifinals meet in the championship game tomorrow, a day before the field for the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament is announced.
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