Big East men’s basketball notebook

,”Syracuse became just the fourth team to defeat Georgetown this year, winning 77-70 at home Saturday.

Led by a 32-9 run in the first half, Syracuse was able to establish a 38-22 lead at halftime, a deficit a few Georgetown second half rallies just could not overcome.

Four players finished the game in double figures for the Orange, but the 22 points from sophomore Paul Harris led the way for Syracuse. Donte Green, who leads all Syracuse scorers with 17.9 points per game, chipped in 18.

The Hoyas, who have the No. 1 scoring defense in the Big East (57.5 points per game allowed), gave up 70 or more points for just the second time this season.

Perhaps the most crucial element in Syracuse's win over Georgetown was free throw shooting. The Orange shot 82 percent (23-of-28) from the line.

Syracuse also outrebounded the Hoyas 36-30.

The Orange have had a difficult time in Big East play this season. Six of their nine losses came against Big East opponents.

Syracuse's upcoming games include match-ups against Louisville, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, but if it continues to succeed against the conference frontrunners, it will gain believers quickly.

Austrine saves UConn

Everyone in the Big East may have considered No. 13 Connecticut the hottest team in the conference, but the Huskies' overtime win over South Florida on Saturday was shaky at best.

Despite giving up 73 points to South Florida, a team that has gone 2-11 in Big East play, the Huskies were able to win their ninth-straight game.

With six seconds remaining in overtime, junior Craig Austrine drove the length of the court and hit the game-winning field goal to lift the Huskies to a 74-73 victory.

UConn sits in third place in the conference standings.

Louisville tied for first

The resurgent Louisville Cardinals have hit the high-point of their season to date.

An 80-72 Louisville victory against Providence, combined with a Georgetown loss against Syracuse on Saturday, put the Cardinals in a tie with Hoyas atop the Big East standings. Each team holds a 10-3 record in conference play.

Despite going just 7-for-23 from three-point range, the Cardinals finished the game with four players in double figures, led by the 20 points from sophomore Earl Clark.

Who's hot: Louisville

Five-straight wins, including victories against conference rivals Marquette and Georgetown, have put the Cardinals in a first place tie atop the Big East standings and back in the Associated Press Top 25.

Who's not: Pittsburgh

Levance Fields' return to the lineup against Marquette on Friday featured only four points. He shot 1-for-7 from the field. The Panthers have gone 3-3 in their last six games.

Game of the week

No. 18 Louisville vs. No. 17 Pittsburgh, Sunday, 11 a.m.

The Panthers have lost only one home game this year, but they face a very difficult test in the red-hot Cardinals.

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