Big East Men’s Basketball Notebook

,”Bearcats advancing on Big East

For a team that lost five of six games in the month of December, the Cincinnati Bearcats are starting to show they know how to win in the Big East conference.

Though standing at just 9-9 overall, Cincinnati is 4-2 in Big East play trailing only No. 9 Georgetown in the conference standings.

Over the last 10 days alone the Bearcats have upset two top 25 teams in No. 19 Villanova and No. 15 Pittsburgh, erasing first half deficits in both games. Cincinnati has also defeated Louisville and Syracuse in conference play.

Sophomore Deonta Vaughn, the team's leading scorer, is averaging 16.9 points per game in conference play. He has also been very good from the free throw line, making 77.6 percent of his free throws against Big East opponents.

Perhaps most important, the Bearcats have simply come up big, late in games. They haven't had a dominating victory against a conference opponent, defeating those in the Big East by an average of 3.8 points per game. Wins against Louisville, Villanova and Pittsburgh have all come down to the wire.

If Cincinnati lacks one thing, it is the presence of a second scorer. Outside of Vaughn, the Bearcats lack another starter averaging more than 10 points per game.

For a team that has already doubled last season's conference win total, the Bearcats have their fans excited. But just about all of their Big East wins (with the exception of Syracuse) could have gone either way.

Hazell shines in Seton Hall victory

Seton Hall currently stands 13th in the Big East with a 2-3 conference record, but Saturday's big win against Louisville should boost the Pirates' confidence.

The Pirates outscored the red-hot Cardinals by 12 points in the second half to erase a first half deficit and win 92-82. Freshman Jeremy Hazell was nothing short of outstanding, scoring 29 points including eight three-pointers. Senior Brian Laing also chipped in with 25 points.

Scarlet Knights still looking for first conference win

Rutgers opened up the second half of Saturday's game against DePaul in front by seven points, and it looked as if the Scarlet Knights were going to win their first conference game.

Twenty minutes and 40 Blue Demon points later and Rutgers is still without a conference win.

With games against No. 18 Villanova and No. 13 Pittsburgh in the near future, things won't be getting any easier for Rutgers.

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