The Big East went into the Holiday weekend with a 4-2 Friday and a 22-4 overall record during the week of basketball action. The No. 4 Louisville Cardinals, Providence Friars, Cincinnati Bearcats and Seton Hall Pirates all won. The No. 13 Pittsburgh Panthers were served up their second shocking home loss of the season to an unranked team when they lost to Wagner. The West Virginia Mountaineers' upset bid fell short against Baylor in overtime.
No. 4 Louisville 70, Western Kentucky 60: The Cardinals started out lethargic against Western Kentucky. Louisville fought back before the end of the first half and went into halftime with a 37-34 lead after trailing 22-9 with 9:58 to play. Louisville took over with 7:58 left to play in the second half with a 14-0 run that put them up 61-50. Russ Smith led Louisville with 23 points. Gorgui Dieng had his fifth straight double-double for the Cards with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Louisville (12-0) is off to their best start in 37 years.
Wagner 59, No. 13 Pittsburgh 54: Pittsburgh had never lost to a team from the Northeastern Conference until last night (now, 70-1 all-time). The win over a ranked team was the first since 1978 for Wagner. Pitt trailed 29-25 at half despite starting the game on a 9-2 run. The Seahawks took a lead at 20-19 with 5:57 to play in the first half and held onto it the rest of the way. Latif Rivers led the Seahawks to the upset with all 18 of his points coming in the second half. Ashton Gibbs led Pitt with 14 points but only shot 5-16 from the floor. The Panthers turned the ball over 18 times and only shot 39.6% from the field and 2-15 from behind the arc.
No. 7 Baylor 83, West Virginia 81, OT: The Mountaineers fell behind 40-33 at the half. They came back in the second half to take a 74-71 lead with 2:51. West Virginia had a 76-73 lead with under 25 seconds to play but gave up a three-pointer to Pierre Jackson that sent the game to overtime. Baylor had a shot to win in regulation that didn't fall. The Bears took over in the extra period. Kevin Jones had another great game with 28 points and 17 rebounds for the Mountaineers. Jabarie Hinds and Darryl Bryant also scored in double figures for West Virginia. Pierre Jackson led Baylor in scoring with 23 points (4-7 from three-point range).
Providence 80, Rhode Island 61: After a close first half which saw Providence go into the break with a 35-33 lead, the Friars won easily against the Rams on the road. An 8-0 run in the second half started Providence on their way to their first win at Rhode Island in their last five tries. Bryce Cotton led the Friars with 19 points, 16 of which came in the second half. Gerard Coleman and Vincent Council also reached double figures in scoring for Providence.
Cincinnati 95, Chicago St. 60: The Bearcats started the game on a 10-2 run and never looked back in their fourth straight big win without suspended players Yancy Gates, Octavius Ellis and Chiekh Mbodj. Cincinnati made a season high 16 three-pointers during the game. Sean Kilpatrick led Cincy with 21 points. Five other players scored in double figures for the Bearcats. Cincinnati fell short of becoming the first team in school history to score 100 points in three straight games.
Seton Hall 87, Longwood 61: At the 15:13 mark, Longwood had a 17-6 lead. Herb Pope made a dunk at the 13:29 mark. After the dunk, the Pirates finished the first half on a 37-16 run. The Lancers couldn't get within 10 points of the lead in the second half. Pope had a quiet night with only 8 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Theodore led Seton Hall with 26 points and Fuquan Edwin chipped in 20 points on 9-12 shooting. The win was the Pirates' eighth in a row. Seton Hall begins Big East conference play against No. 1 Syracuse on Dec. 28.
The Big East will return to basketball action on Tuesday, Dec. 27, when conference play begins. No. 13 Pittsburgh will travel to play Notre Dame (7 p.m., TV: ESPN2) and St. John's will host Providence (7 p.m., TV: ESPN3).