There were 12 Big East basketball games on tap today. The league did very well in the early games with a record of 5-1. The No. 14 Pittsburgh Panthers, DePaul Blue Demons, No. 4 Louisville Cardinals, No. 21 Georgetown Hoyas and Providence Friars all won. The Cincinnati Bearcats lost to No. 8 Xavier.
No. 14 Pittsburgh 74, Oklahoma State 68: Oklahoma State was down by 12 at half but was able to cut a lead which had ballooned to 16 points down to 5 in the second half. Ashton Gibbs was able to keep the Cowboys at bay with key free throws. Pitt dominated the paint 43-25 and scored 40 points compared to Oklahoma State's 26. Lamar Patterson had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds for Pittsburgh. Patterson also had seven assists. Ashton Gibbs led the Panthers with 17 points. Oklahoma State's Le`Bryan Nash led all scorers with 20 points.
DePaul 102, Chicago St. 95: The Blue Demons defeated the winless Cougars with help from two players who have been struggling recently: Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young. Melvin scored a career-high 30 points. Young chipped in 21 total points (20 in the second half). Chicago St's zone gave DePaul some trouble, but we've seen that this season from other teams playing the Blue Demons. Despite being outrebounded, DePaul found a way to manufacture points by forcing the Cougars into 21 turnovers that provided 26 points.
No. 21 Georgetown 62, Howard 48: This margin of victory was closer than some people may have anticipated. The Hoyas dominated the first half and went into the break with a 30-17 lead. Howard cut a 17-point lead all the way down to two points in the second half. Georgetown switched to a full-court press to force errors from the Bison and got 20 turnovers in the game from Howard. Neither team shot well. Otto Porter, who was an exception to the shooting problems, led Georgetown with 13 points.
Providence 72, Bryant 61: The Friars surprising start moved to 9-2 with a win over Bryant. Bryce Cotton led the way with a career-high 34 points, 20 of which were scored in the first half. LaDontae Henton had another strong game for Providence with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Bryant's Alex Francis had 17 points and 13 rebounds and helped keep the game competitive. The Bulldogs actually led 56-49 with less than 7 minutes remaining in the second half but struggled to make a shot down the stretch.
No. 4 Louisville 80, Fairleigh Dickinson 58: The Cardinals had no trouble with Fairleigh Dickinson. A late 10-0 run in the first half allowed Louisville to take a 44-25 lead into halftime. The Knights were not able to close the gap in the second half. Kyle Kuric led Louisville with 18 points. Gorgui Dieng had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Peyton Siva had 16 points and 9 assists. Melquan Bolding and George Goode scored 40 of the Knights' 58 points. Goode, who used to play for Louisville, had 17 points and 12 boards.
There are six more games on the schedule today: Temple-Villanova (currently late second half, ESPN2), No. 3 Syracuse-George Washington (7 p.m.); West Virginia-Miami (7 p.m., ESPN2); Dartmouth-Notre Dame (7:30 p.m., ESPN3); Wake Forest-Seton Hall (8 p.m., ESPN3); Green Bay-Marquette (9 p.m., ESPN3).