NEW YORK — No. 5 Georgetown has had great success as the top seed in the Big East tournament, and Thursday's 62-43 quarterfinal win against Cincinnati was no exception.
The Hoyas (25-5) jumped out to a 24-8 lead, only to see eighth-seeded Cincinnati claw back for a 33-31 lead early in the second half. Georgetown settled down, rallied and pulled away, ending the game on a 20-6 run at Madison Square Garden.
"They believe in each other. They believe in me. They believe in what we're doing," said coach John Thompson III, who saw the Hoyas improve to 15-1 all time as the tournament's top seed. "I think we knew what we had to do. It was just a question of settling down and getting back to our game plan, to what we wanted to do."
Forward Otto Porter, the conference player of the year, had a game-high 18 points, hitting all 11 of his free throws to offset a 3-for-9 effort from the field. The Hoyas forced Cincinnati (22-11) into 15 turnovers and held the Bearcats' leading scorer, guard Sean Kilpatrick, to four points. Kilpatrick missed all eight of his 3-point tries.
"We just really struggled on offense. Obviously, S.K. didn't have a great game," Bearcats coach Mick Cronin said. "Some of our other guys have to gain some confidence on the offensive end. But our effort was tremendous, again."
NO. 19 SYRACUSE 62, NO. 17 PITT 59: Guard James Southerland went 6-for-6 on 3-pointers, and the fifth-seeded Orange (25-8) held off a rally by the No. 4 seed Panthers (24-8) to advance to the semifinals. Southerland, who in Wednesday's win against Seton Hall went 6-for-9 on 3-pointers, had 20 points. The Orange hit 11 of their final 12 shots of the first half, ending with an 8-0 run. "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."
No. 4 L'ville 74, villanova 58: The Cardinals played like a team intent on avenging a regular-season defeat to the Wildcats. No. 2 seed Louisville (27-5) used a relentless press to force 18 turnovers in the first half and 25 for the game, and ran away in the second half for a quarterfinal win. Villanova, seeded seventh, exits with a 20-13 record, expecting to make the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals, who won their eighth straight, more than made up for a 73-64 loss to Villanova on Jan. 22. Guard Russ Smith, who made 2 of 13 shots in the first meeting, scored a game-high 28 points Thursday.
No. 24 ND 73, No. 12 Marquette 65: Pat Connaughton scored 18, all on 3-pointers, and Jack Cooley had two offensive rebounds that resulted in a putback and a 3-pointer in a key 9-2 run as the No. 6 seed Irish (25-8) beat the No. 3 seed Golden Eagles (23-8) to reach the tournament semifinals for the fourth straight year. Notre Dame faces Louisville tonight in a rematch of the Irish's 104-101 five-overtime win during the regular season.
Mixed quarterfinals: The Big East's final tournament before its members head in several directions featured a mixed lineup in the quarterfinals, with four teams (Louisville, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame) headed to the ACC, three (Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova) who will continue in the new Big East and Cincinnati, which will play next season in the same unnamed conference as USF.
"The fact that we're sitting here and this is the last Big East tournament is beyond ridiculous," Cincinnati's Cronin said. "It's only gone for one reason: money. … The whole thing is tragic. Nobody cares about student-athletes. All anybody cares about is money … The money has ruined it. If I was a fan, I'd be very disenchanted."
Information from Times wires was used in this report.