NEW YORK — Defense? Who needs defense?
Seton Hall and Providence broke the Big East tournament scoring record for a regulation game — by 29 points— and the Pirates held off a furious rally for a 109-106 victory in the opening round at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
The Friars, down 29 points with 13:32 to play, got close enough that Duke Mondy's missed 3-pointer with two seconds left would have tied the score. Tenth-seeded Seton Hall (19-11) faces seventh-seeded Notre Dame (21-10) today, and a win there would help the Pirates' NCAA Tournament hopes.
"We're just happy to survive and advance," Pirates coach Bobby Gonzalez said. "Sometimes when you get up like that, it's not easy to stay ahead in a game that long."
Providence forward Jamine Peterson had 38 points, matching the second-most ever in a tournament game and breaking current Florida coach Billy Donovan's 23-year-old Friars record for the tournament. He also had 16 rebounds.
Herb Pope led Seton Hall with 27 points and 11 rebounds.
The teams combined for 215 points — despite missing a combined 25 free throws — as all 10 starters scored in double figures. The teams combined for 62 free throws in the second half alone.
ST. JOHN'S 73, UCONN 51: Two weeks ago, Connecticut had beaten two top 10 teams in West Virginia and Villanova as part of a three-game win streak. Tuesday's loss to the 13th-seeded Red Storm finished a four-game losing streak that took the 12th-seeded Huskies out of contention for the NCAA Tournament.
St. John's (17-14) handed the Huskies their sixth straight Big East tournament loss, getting 19 points and 10 rebounds from forward Sean Evans. Guard Jerome Dyson, UConn's leading scorer, had four points and committed nine of the Huskies' 20 turnovers.
"They came out here with purpose, physicality and quite frankly handed us our butts," said coach Jim Calhoun, who called reports of his potential retirement "erroneous."
The Red Storm faces fifth-seeded Marquette in today's quarterfinals.
CINCINNATI 69, RUTGERS 68: Lance Stephenson celebrated winning Big East rookie of the year by making the deciding free throw with 1.8 seconds left, and the 11th-seeded Bearcats (17-14) won their first Big East tournament game ever. Cincinnati faces sixth-seeded Louisville tonight.