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Syracuse holds off Pitt in battle of departing Big East schools
Neither Syracuse nor Pittsburgh wanted to see its Big East tenure end in the quarterfinals of their last conference tournament. James Southerland and Michael...
NEW YORK — Neither Syracuse nor Pittsburgh wanted to see its Big East tenure end in the quarterfinals of their last conference tournament.
James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams kept Syracuse's run at one more title going as the 19th-ranked Orange beat No. 17 Pittsburgh 62-59 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Both schools are leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. They didn't disappoint the sellout crowd, providing one last great game before they head south.
"We know that this means a lot to us, as a basketball team and as a program," Syracuse's Brandon Triche said. "This can very much jump-start us to the (NCAA) tournament. So we know how important this Big East tournament is."
The fifth-seeded Orange (25-8) advanced to the semifinals against top-seeded Georgetown, which is one of the seven Catholic schools that have left their football counterparts behind in an attempt to have a basketball-centric conference.
"The doubleheader that's going to be here tomorrow night will be a great basketball night, I think," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "It's a great way for this league to go out. We got to the semis in this tournament a lot, I think over 20 times, and it's great to be able to do that because it means you played pretty good, and that's what we're trying to do, play good and get ready for, unfortunately, the only thing that matters, next week."
This will be the 14th time the schools have met in the Big East tournament, and the Hoyas hold the series lead at 7-6.
"Georgetown is a team that's going to play tough and physical," Southerland said. "So if you keep moving, getting people open and setting screens, we'll be fine."
Southerland had a second straight great effort from 3-point range and Carter-Williams scored Syracuse's last seven points against Pittsburgh in a game in which the final 1:15 was a great way for the programs to play one last time in the Big East.
Southerland had 20 points as he did in the second-round win over Seton Hall and again almost all the points came from beyond the three-point arc. The senior forward was 6-for-6 on three-pointers against Pittsburgh — the Big East tournament record for threes without a miss — a day after going 6 for 9 from beyond the arc against Seton Hall.
"It's a great feeling," Southerland. "I didn't realize I was 6 for 6 until I looked down at the paper now. I don't think about it. I just go out and play and make sure I make every shot."
Other Big East
Otto Porter Jr. scored 18 points and No. 5 Georgetown advanced to the semifinals, beating Cincinnati 62-43.
• Russ Smith scored 28 points in a bittersweet homecoming, leading No. 4 Louisville into the semifinals with a 74-55 victory over Villanova only hours after the death of his high-school coach.
Olivier Hanlan set an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament record for freshmen with 41 points and Boston College beat Georgia Tech, 84-64, in the first round in Greensboro, N.C. Boston College advanced to face No. 9 Miami on Friday in the quarterfinals.
• Richard Howell scored 22 points with 12 rebounds to help North Carolina State beat Virginia Tech, 80-63, in the first round.
• Michael Snaer hit four free throws in the final 22.4 seconds to help reigning champion Florida State hold off Clemson 73-69 in the first round.
Big 12 Tournament
Ben McLemore scored 24 points to lead No. 7 Kansas to a 91-63 rout of Texas Tech in the quarterfinals in Kansas City, Mo., setting up an intriguing date with Iowa State in the semifinals Friday. Kansas needed overtime to defeat Iowa State in both of their regular-season games.
• Rodney McGruder scored 24 points and sparked an 11-0 run in the second half, lifting No. 11 Kansas State past Texas 66-49 in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats advanced to face Oklahoma State on Friday in the semifinals.
• Phil Forte hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds left and No. 14 Oklahoma State survived after blowing a 20-point lead to beat Baylor, 74-72, in the quarterfinals.
Big Ten Tournament
Brandon Paul scored 25 points and hit a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to give Illinois a 51-49 victory over Minnesota in the first round in Chicago.
The Illini will face No. 3 Indiana in the quarterfinals.
• Trey Burke scored 21 points and No. 6 Michigan beat Penn State, 83-66, in the first round.
LSU held off Georgia in the second round, 68-63, to give first-year coach Johnny Jones a win in his Southeastern Conference tournament debut in Nashville, Tenn.
• Kedren Johnson hit all four of his free throws in the final 19.8 seconds to boost Vanderbilt past Arkansas, 75-72 in the second round.