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Big East Basketball Wrap-Up: Connecticut, Notre Dame, Providence, West Virginia Win

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The Big East completed a perfect 4-0 day on the hardwood on Dec. 8. The Connecticut Huskies, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Providence Friars and West Virginia Mountaineers were all winners on Thursday with performances that recalled the 28-0 start by the league to begin the season. The Mountaineers were the first Big East team to lose and break the streak. They got a little bit of redemption for that loss when they beat Kansas State on the road last night so let's start with them.

West Virginia 85, Kansas State 80, 2 OT: West Virginia's had an up and down season so far so I didn't expect them to win at Kansas State (technically a "neutral" court in Wichita). I did expect the Mountaineers to give the Wildcats a hard time though as Bob Huggins is a mentor to Kansas State head coach Frank Martin. The teacher turned out to still be the master. This was a close game all the way (neither team led by more than 7 points) and it took two overtimes to settle it, but the Mountaineers pulled away in the second overtime frame. West Virginia was led by Kevin Jones' 30 point, 12 rebound double double and 24 points from Darryl Bryant. Thomas Gipson had a double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas State. Rodney McGruder led the Wildcats with 20 points.

No. 9 UConn 67, No. 24 Harvard 53: I had to write about this game for SB Nation Boston and I remarked after one half that it was a really close game, 30-28, in favor of UConn because of hot shooting and stingy defense from Harvard. The Crimson defense held the Huskies without a basket for the final 5:19 of the half. Andre Drummond had to sit for most of that period of time with two fouls. Non-conference teams don't win in November and December in Gampel Pavilion (Huskies now 53-0) and UConn showed why in the second half when they picked up their game. Drummond only committed one more foul the rest of the game and finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds and a block. Jeremy Lamb finished with a game-high 18 points and 7 rebounds for the Huskies. Harvard's shooting percentage dropped off in the second half and allowed UConn to get the double-digit victory. Christian Webster was held without a point in the second half for Harvard after scoring eight in the first half. Kyle Casey led Harvard with 12 points but nine of those points came in the first half.

Providence 64, Boston College 57: This was the most surprising result of the night for me as Boston College has been pretty awful this season and Providence has looked better than expected. The Eagles kept it close for most of the game and were within three points of the lead with 3 minutes remaining. LaDontae Henton made a couple of key baskets down the stretch to put the game out of reach. Henton finished with a game-high 21 points. Vincent Council also had a solid night for the Friars with 17 points, 8 assists and 4 boards. Ryan Anderson led the Eagles with 16 points. With the win Providence head coach Ed Cooley now has 100 for his career.

Notre Dame 87, Maine 78: I doubted Notre Dame would win this game by a comfortable margin. Maine had a 17-12 lead in the first half and a 64-63 lead with 7:53 left to play. Then at the 7:45 mark, Jerian Grant got a steal and assisted on Jack Cooley's layup to give the Irish a 65-63 lead. Maine would tie but never saw the lead again. With about four minutes to go, Notre Dame pulled away. Cooley was one of the main reasons. He finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Eric Atkins had a team-high 26 points for the Irish. Gerald McLemore was great for the Black Bears with a game-high 27 points on 11-16 shooting (3-6 from three). Justin Edwards also scored 20 points for Maine.

There are no Big East basketball games on the schedule tonight.