Day one of the Big East Tournament brought bad weather, but great basketball. The first game was between old-time rivals, as the St. John’s Red Storm took on the Georgetown Hoyas, followed by Marquette vs. DePaul in a game that went down to the wire.
St. John’s 88, Georgetown 77
Patrick Ewing vs. Chris Mullin brought the magic back to Madison Square Garden, and this match-up didn’t disappoint. The Hoyas swept the season series in two tightly contested games, but the Johnnies won the biggest of them all capped off by a great second half.
Georgetown took a 48-42 lead into halftime, and center Jessie Govan had 20 points. However, he finished the game with 28 points in what was a struggle-some second half for the junior. Outside of Govan and forward Marcus Derrickson who had 20 points, no one scored over double digits for the Hoyas.
The Red Storm had an extremely balanced attack, led by 26 from Shamorie Ponds, and a double-double from Justin Simon.
“I thought the first half, they got too many open looks, too many walk-in three’s,” St. John’s coach Chris Mullin said. “And I thought our defense picked up in the second half and offensively we kind of got moving.”
Marquette 72, DePaul 69
The Golden Eagles scored a huge opening night victory against DePaul to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Guard Andrew Rowsey was lights out in the first half, and finished with 25 points. Big-men Max Strus and Marin Maric lead the way for the Blue Demons with 22 points a piece.
Marquette went on a big run in the first half and jumped out to a 25-12 lead, closing the half up 39-27 shooting 51.9% from the floor. However, DePaul never went away and had a chance to win it at the end with a Max Strus three that didn’t fall.
The Blue Demons held Marquette’s leading scoring Markus Howard to just four points in 29 minutes. DePaul used a similar blueprint when they knocked off Marquette 70-62 back in late February.
“We have tremendous respect for DePaul,” said Marquette coach Steve Wojchiechowski. “Their length in all three games, especially the last two, has presented a lot of problems for us offensively.”