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Big East Conference Tournament Recaps

6:27 PM, Mar 14, 2013   |    comments
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New York, NY (Sports Network) - Otto Porter scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, leading fifth-ranked Georgetown to a 62-43 victory over Cincinnati in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Markel Starks added 14 points and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera chipped in 13 for the Hoyas (25-5), who shared the regular-season Big East title with Louisville and Marquette but earned the tournament's top seed.

Porter, the Big East's Player of the Year, made only 3-of-9 shots from the field, but canned each of his 11 free throws to lead Georgetown into the semifinals. The Hoyas, who improved to 15-1 as the Big East's top seed, will next face Syracuse in Friday's semifinal.

"A lot of teams are starting to key in on (Porter) more, and I think more of the strategy for them is to try to stop him and kind of worry less about the other guys on our team," said Smith-Rivera. "Guys like Nate (Lubick), Markel, myself, we're starting to get going."

Cincinnati (22-11) reached the conference tournament final last year for the first time since joining the Big East, falling to Louisville, and will now have to await its NCAA Tournament fate. The Bearcats stumbled down the stretch with a 3-6 mark in their final nine regular-season games before beating Providence in the second round on Wednesday.

Cashmere Wright scored 14 points and JaQuon Parker added 12 for Cincinnati on Thursday, as the Bearcats endured a couple of ugly scoring droughts against the tough Georgetown defense. Sean Kilpatrick, the team's leading scorer at 17.3 points per game, made just 2-of-12 shots and finished with four points.

"Obviously, we struggled to score the basketball," said Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin. "We just really struggled on offense. Obviously (Kilpatrick) didn't have a great game for him."

Cincinnati battled back from a 16-point first-half deficit and had a 33-31 lead early in the second half on a basket by Wright. Georgetown followed with an 11-2 run and held the advantage the rest of the way.

Smith-Rivera broke a 33-33 tie with a three and followed with another bucket on the next Hoyas trip. A layup by Cincinnati's Chiekh Mbodj briefly interrupted the surge, but baskets by Porter and Starks then gave Georgetown a 42-35 edge with 12 1/2 minutes remaining.

"I want to say the first three, four possessions of the second half, we looked extremely flat," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III. "But then we turned it up at the defense. We started getting stops, which then helped our offense."

The Bearcats got only as close as five from there and the Hoyas were able to expand their lead as Cincinnati converted only two baskets in the next nine minutes. Two free throws from Porter made it 53-39 with 3 1/2 minutes to play.

Porter added six more from the stripe down the stretch to help seal it.

Cincinnati started the contest ice cold, making just 1-of-9 from the floor. After Parker's three gave the Bearcats a 4-3 lead, the Hoyas responded with 21 of the next 25 points.

Jabil Trawick scored nine during the surge and back-to-back threes by Porter and Smith-Rivera gave Georgetown a 24-8 cushion with 5 1/2 minutes left in the half.

The Bearcats, though, clawed back and trailed just 29-24 at the break, then opened the second half with a 9-2 run to grab the lead.

Game Notes

Georgetown earned a 62-55 victory in the lone regular-season meeting with Cincinnati and leads the all-time series, 8-5 ... The Hoyas are trying for their first Big East tourney title since 2007 and their eighth overall crown, which would snap a tie with Connecticut. The Huskies are ineligible for this year's tournament ... Georgetown's only loss as the No. 1 seed came in the 2010 final against West Virginia ... Trawick finished with nine points.

Final Score: (19) Syracuse 62, (17) Pittsburgh 59

New York, NY (Sports Network) - James Southerland had another sensational shooting performance and No. 19 Syracuse held on for a 62-59 decision to send 17th-ranked Pittsburgh home from the Big East Tournament for the last time.

After making 6-of-9 from long distance in their second-round win over Seton Hall, Southerland converted all six of his 3-pointers en route to 20 points on Thursday for the Orange (25-8), who will take on top-seeded Georgetown for the third time this season in Friday's semifinal.

"Pittsburgh is a tremendous defensive team," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "We just had great ball movement. Got the open guys, and James just got -- he got good looks, and he made them."

Michael Carter-Williams added clutch free throws down the stretch to tally 11 points with seven assists and recorded his third steal late in the game to seal the victory for Syracuse, which received 13 and 12 points, respectively, from C.J. Fair and Brandon Triche.

The Panthers (24-8), along with the Orange, are bolting for the Atlantic Coast Conference at the start of the 2013-14 season and shot just 37.5 percent in their Big East Tournament finale.

Lamar Peterson finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, Tray Woodall scored 12 and both James Robinson and Talib Zanna had 10 points in defeat.

Syracuse, a 32 percent shooting team from 3-point range during the regular season, shot at least 60 percent for the second consecutive day to pace its offense -- drilling 12-of-19 shots from long distance -- however Pitt found itself in good position late in the contest.

The Panthers had trailed by 13 at the break, but were within 58-55 with 1:15 remaining after Woodall capitalized on three-point play opportunity, which Southerland caused by goaltending on his running jumper.

Fair missed at the other end for Syracuse and Zanna had a chance to tie the game after drawing a foul on his putback, but he missed the free throw.

Carter-Williams then made a pair of free throws to increase the Orange's lead to three, and after picking off a Robinson pass, he sank two more from the stripe to put the contest out of reach.

Southerland buried his fourth and fifth triples in the final three minutes of the first half to spark an 11-4 run, which sent the Orange into halftime with a 40-27 lead.

"Simply put, our transition defense wasn't good in the first half, and that's how he got open looks," said Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon. "When he got matched up on different guys, our 5 was guarding him on the one play."

Woodall, however, made two from beyond the arc during a 9-3 push to get the Panthers within four at the 8:39 mark and back-to-back scores from Patterson and Zanna 4 1/2 minutes later had Pitt trailing 55-51.

Game Notes

Southerland set a Big East Tournament record with the most 3-pointers without a miss ... Pittsburgh had won its last four contests coming into the tournament ... The Panthers defeated Syracuse in their only regular season matchup, but Southerland was serving a six-game suspension for an academic issue and did not play ... Pittsburgh has dropped five of its last six postseason games at Madison Square Garden since winning the Big East Tournament in 2008.

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