NEW YORK — No. 19 Syracuse had lost four of five games coming into the Big East tournament, and as the Orange found itself down 13-3 to upset-minded Seton Hall in its opener, coach Jim Boeheim had moments to wonder if his last Big East run would be a short one at Madison Square Garden.
"There's some negative thoughts that are going to sneak in there, and we were able to overcome that," Boeheim said, "which I think was good for this team moving forward."
Syracuse (24-8) never led in the first half, but after rallying for a tie at halftime, it never trailed in the second, riding 9 for 15 3-point shooting to a 75-63 win over the Pirates (15-18) on Wednesday.
"We haven't played a good offensive game in a long time," said Boeheim, whose fifth-seeded team takes on fourth-seeded Pittsburgh today in the quarterfinals in a battle of future ACC rivals. "This might have been if not our best offensive game, certainly right there in terms of ball movement, shots that we got."
James Southerland made 6 of 9 3-pointers and had 20 points, and Michael Carter-Williams had 14 assists, matching the most in a tournament game. Guard Aaron Cosby had 22 points for Seton Hall.
NO. 24 NOTRE DAME 69, RUTGERS 61: Pat Connaughton scored a season-high 21 and hit six of the Irish's 10 3-pointers in a second-round game. Tom Knight had a career-high 18 points for sixth-seeded Notre Dame (24-8), which faces third-seeded and 12th-ranked Marquette in the quarterfinals tonight. Senior forward Austin Johnson had a career-high 18 points for the 11th-seeded Scarlet Knights (15-16).
VILLANOVA 66, ST. JOHN'S 53: The seventh-seeded Wildcats (20-12) solidified their NCAA Tournament chances and might have knocked the 10th-seeded Red Storm (17-14) off the bubble.
Center Mouphtaou Yarou shot 9-for-10 for 18 points to lead Villanova, which made 19 of 23 free throws in the second half. The Wildcats play second-seeded Louisville in the quarterfinals tonight.
Villanova's NCAA odds are strong. In the past 30 seasons, 96.7 percent of Big East teams with at least 20 wins have made the cut. "I knew there was a chance we could lose this one and it would be a long week at home waiting," Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. "Right now I'm not going to think about that. I'm just going to think about Louisville."
CINCINNATI 61, PROVIDENCE 44: The ninth-seeded Bearcats held the eighth-seeded Friars to 28 percent shooting, including 1-for-16 on 3-pointers. Cincinnati (22-10) took a 26-8 lead, and though Providence (17-14) cut its deficit to four in the second half, the Bearcats took control, committing two turnovers in the final 10 minutes. Guard JaQuon Parker had 15 points and 10 rebounds and guard Sean Kilpatrick added 17 points to go with strong perimeter defense for Cincinnati, which faces top-seeded Georgetown in the quarterfinals today.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.