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Big East men’s notebook, Jan. 21

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Seton Hall, Providence earn surprise wins

Marquette fans may remember when Seton Hall fell to the Golden Eagles by a mere point Jan. 11. The Pirates, despite sporting a 2-3 Big East record, adopted a more aggressive style this season and the latest evidence was a 10-point win at Georgetown Saturday.

Fuquan Edwin led Seton Hall with 24 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting while Georgetown shot just 34 percent overall. The Pirates sealed the game from the outside, making 11-of-20 long balls. In addition to the loss at Marquette, Seton Hall’s two other defeats came at the hands of Villanova and Creighton.

Providence continues to play the role of the Big East’s dark horse after pulling away from No. 20 Creighton Saturday, 81-68. All five Providence starters scored in double figures, guided by Bryce Cotton’s 23 points. Creighton’s Doug McDermott scored 19, The Bluejays, one of the nation’s more prolific outside shooting teams, converted on only 4-of-19 three-point tries.

The Friars are now 3-2 in the Big East and have a chance to finish above .500 in conference action for just the fifth time in 20 years.

St. John’s still winless in Big East

The Red Storm simply has not lived up to its standards this season, dropping to 0-5 in the Big East and putting themselves in a position to not even qualify for the College Basketball Invitational. St. John’s was predicted to finish fifth by the league’s coaches and earned two first place votes.

Preseason Big East Rookie of the Year Rysheed Jordan has not raised eyebrows to this point, averaging 7.4 points per game and 9.2 points in the Big East. St. John’s ranks eighth in the league in field goal percentage and eighth in assists, but does lead in blocks. The Red Storm still has plenty of chances to collect wins and rebound in time for March, but this cannot be the start coach Steve Lavin hoped for.

Player of the Week: Bryce Cotton – Senior – Providence

brycecottonCotton led the Friars to two critical victories last week: a double-overtime win at St. John’s Thursday and an upset against No. 20 Creighton Saturday. Cotton had 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 50 minutes against St. John’s and had 23 points and six assists against Creighton. Cotton has been on a scoring tear over the last few weeks, currently maintaining an eight-game streak of scoring 20 points or more. Averaging a career-best 20.4 points per game, despite shooting only 40 percent from the field, Cotton is projected to be a late second-round pick in June’s NBA Draft. If he sustains his offensive strength, he has a great chance to move up the board.

Game of the Week: Villanova at Marquette — Saturday — 1 p.m.

Not everyone anticipated Villanova to be the elite team it has been this season, and perhaps not everyone anticipated Marquette’s recent hiccups. This is an especially pivotal game for the Golden Eagles, who have yet to pocket a resume-building win. They had chances earlier in the season against teams like Ohio State, San Diego State and Creighton but came out empty each time. Marquette still needs to have a leader rise to the occasion in late-game situations. A breakout performance by one of its seniors could be the cure for its sluggish Big East start.

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