There were four Big East games on Sunday to kick off 2012. The No. 1 Syracuse Orange defeated the DePaul Blue Demons. The No. 13 Marquette Golden Eagles held off the Villanova Wildcats. The South Florida Bulls survived against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the No. 22 Pittsburgh Panthers dropped a home game to the Cincinnati Bearcats.
No. 1 Syracuse 87, DePaul 68: Syracuse fell behind 7-2 on the road against DePaul. The Orange responded by finishing the first half on a 43-19 run. After struggling mightily against the zone defense in the first half, the Blue Demons started to make some shots in the second half but Syracuse kept pace to finish off the blowout victory. Fabricio Melo had six blocks for Syracuse after setting the school record with 10 last game. Melo also had 12 points and 5 rebounds. The Orange were led by Kris Joseph's 22 points. C.J. Fair scored 16 points on 6-6 shooting for Syracuse. DePaul got 23 points and 8 rebounds from Cleveland Melvin but zero points from second leading scorer Brandon Young (16.1 ppg) who missed all eight of his shots. For more postgame Syracuse coverage, visit Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician or the SB Nation New York storystream. For more postgame DePaul coverage, visit the SB Nation Chicago storystream.
No. 13 Marquette 81, Villanova 77: Marquette was in danger of not being able to close out their game against Villanova but managed to escape by making enough free throws. The Golden Eagles had a three-point halftime lead despite getting out to a big lead early in the half. The Wildcats weren't able to come all the way back after falling behind by double digits again in the second half. Villanova was only 3-17 from behind the arc and trailed in free throw attempts, 37-24, despite a slight rebounding advantage. Darius Johnson-Odom led Marquette with 24 points. Davante Gardner had a double-double for the Golden Eagles with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Villanova's points lead was nearly equally distributed between Mouphtaou Yarou, JayVaughn Pinkston, Maalik Wayns and Darrun Hilliard. Yarou led the group with 14, Pinkston had 13, Wayns and Hilliard had 12. For more Marquette postgame coverage, visit Anonymous Eagle. For more postgame Villanova coverage, visit The Nova Blog or the SB Nation Philly storystream.
Cincinnati 66, No. 22 Pitt 63: Cincinnati got their first win at Pittsburgh in 33 years on Sunday. They did so without suspended players Yancy Gates, Octavius Ellis and Cheikh Mbodj. In fact, the Bearcats have played as well as any Big East team without those players. Cincinnati was outrebounded but hot from behind the arc, shooting 11-27. Pittsburgh only hit five of their 19 three-point attempts and turned the ball over 17 times. The Panthers began the game on a 13-5 run. Cincinnati immediately started to comeback and the score was tied at 31 at halftime. The Bearcats took a lead at the beginning of the second half and held off the Panthers down the stretch. The loss was the third in a row for Pitt. JaQuon Parker led Cincy with 21 points. Sean Kilpatrick chipped in 19 points and Dion Dixon had 13 points for the Bearcats. Nasir Robinson led Pitt with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. For more postgame Pittsburgh coverage, visit Cardiac Hill or the SB Nation Pittsburgh storystream. For more Cincinnati postgame coverage, visit Down The Drive.
South Florida 67, Rutgers 65: South Florida built a 29-22 halftime lead against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights which had defeated No. 10 Florida in double overtime in their previous outing. The Scarlet Knights started slow and missed their first eight shots. Rutgers put up a furious comeback attempt in the second half but missed a shot at the buzzer to tie. The Bulls won the rebounding battle and dished out 21 assists. Ron Anderson Jr. led the Bulls with 15 points. Hugh Robertson and Augustus Gilchrist each scored in double figures for South Florida. Eli Carter led Rutgers with 23 points. Myles Mack and Derrick Randall also reached double figures for Rutgers. For more South Florida postgame coverage, visit Voodoo Five. For more Rutgers postgame coverage, visit On The Banks or the SB Nation New York storystream.
There are no games involving Big East teams on Monday.