NEW YORK — The Big East tournament has its first big upset, as 11th-seeded Cincinnati defeated sixth-seeded Louisville 69-66 Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals, winning a nail-biter for the second night in a row.
The Bearcats (18-14) got two free throws with 5.9 seconds left from Deonta Vaughn, who then stripped Louisville's Edgar Sosa before a potential tying 3-pointer at the buzzer. Sosa had a career-high 28 points.
Reginald Delk hit a 3 from the wing with nine seconds left to give the Cardinals (20-12) a chance at Madison Square Garden.
Yancy Gates had 16 points to lead the Bearcats, who face third-seeded West Virginia in tonight's quarterfinals. Cincinnati had needed a Lance Stephenson free throw with 1.8 seconds left to get past 15th-seeded Rutgers 69-68 on Tuesday.
MARQUETTE 57, ST. JOHN'S 55: Few teams can boast the experience Marquette has in close games in the closing seconds; 11 of the Golden Eagles' 18 Big East games were decided by three points or fewer.
So when 13th-seeded St. John's turned a 14-point deficit into a lead in the final two minutes, that experience helped Marquette avoid the upset and pull off a victory in the second round of the Big East tournament.
"We're starting to learn how to play in close games," said forward Lazar Hayward, who had 20 points and nine rebounds and hit two key free throws with 35 seconds left. "We definitely understand that the value of our possessions is very, very vital to us."
St. John's (17-15) helped Marquette by missing two free throws with the score tied and 2:24 left. A 3-pointer by David Cubillan with 1:08 to play put the Golden Eagles (21-10) ahead for good at 55-53.
Marquette advances to the quarterfinals today to play fourth-seeded Villanova, which handed the Golden Eagles a pair of two-point losses in January.
"We'll have our hands full," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said.
NOTRE DAME 68, SETON HALL 56: Center Luke Harangody, still recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him five games, had 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench in the first half, sparking the Fighting Irish to an easy win in a game some saw as an elimination game for the NCAA Tournament.
"How about this being promoted as a play-in game? Come on. For us? Come on," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "You know what, right now nobody is talking about Seton Hall. Just give it a few days. Keep Seton Hall on the board. … It would have been very hard to keep us out before tonight with what we have."
Notre Dame (22-10) faces second-seeded Pittsburgh today, while Seton Hall (19-12) is left to find out where it will play in the postseason.