Big East swept four games on Friday night (Georgetown, Syracuse, DePaul, South Florida) to take a commanding 6-2 lead in the SEC/Big East Challenge. If you’re following conference realignment, it’s more like Big East 4, SEC 2, ACC 2 (Notre Dame and Syracuse).
Games of the Night
Syracuse 91, Arkansas 82 – The Orange were able to take it to the “Fastest 40 Minutes” earning a road win over Arkansas. James Southerland came off the bench and exploded for a school-record nine 3-pointers, en route to a career-high 35 points. The Razorbacks continued to fight, but No. 6 Cuse was too much in a face-paced game.
Georgetown 37, Tennessee 36 – For all the wrong reasons. Markel Sparks hit a jumper with 4:42 left in the game, giving the Hoyas a 37-36 lead. That would be the last time the ball would go through the hoop for either side. After an 18-16 Tennessee lead at halftime, the Vols and Hoyas had an exciting second half, as best as they could.
Kansas 84, Oregon State 79 – The Jayhawks, who have won five straight, were able to survive a pair of Beaver rallies, avoiding an upset. Kansas shot 60 percent from the floor and had five players score in double figures.
Drake 76, Nevada 66 – Drake was able to knock off Nevada, after falling to Xavier by four on Sunday. Drake has a chance for its best win of the season, next Wednesday at home against Matt Dellavedova and St. Mary’s
South Florida 64, Georgia 53 – The Bulls are quietly 5-2 following the SEC/Big East Challenge win over the Bulldogs. South Florida has a real test next Wednesday on the road against No. 15 Oklahoma State. Georgia has lost five of its last six games.
James Southerland, Syracuse – Came off the bench for a career-high 35 points, despite foul trouble that took him off the floor with 15 minutes to go, while he had 28 points.
Travis Releford and Ben McLemore, Kansas – The pair of Kansas guards both had 20 or more points (McLemore: 21 points, Releford: 20 points), helping the Jayhawks avoid an upset from the Beavers.
Cleveland Melvin – Not only did Melvin have a game-high 21 points and added 10 rebounds. The junior forward secured the win on the defensive end. Melvin came away with a steal with 13 seconds left, as the Blue Demons nursed a 78-76 led. Melivn would sink both free throws after being fouled.
Georgetown/Tennessee offense – No shocker here. Both teams struggled to put the ball through the net in this defensive battle. Lot of ugly stats that came out of this one, including no player hitting double figures. Tennessee connected on 3-of-11 from the free throw line, while Georgetown was 1-of-7 (14 percent) from deep.
Oklahoma – The Sooners had to give everything they had to sneak out a home win against Northwestern State. Oklahoma won 69-65, but struggled offensively, shooting 39 percent from the field.
Arkansas deep ball – The Razorbacks couldn’t get the ball in the middle of the famous Syracuse 2-3 zone. The results were bad from behind the arc. Arkansas only converted on 5-of-24 3-pointers, while Southerland had nine by himself for the Orange. The senior forward also shot 9-of-13 from deep.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne