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Live Blog: BIG EAST Tournament Day Three

Updated: Mar 15

5:20pm: UConn vs. St. John's | PREGAME


The crowd waiting to file into the stadium was the largest margin so far by quite a few patrons. It's impossible to tell a split this early, but the one thing I do know is that it is quite loud.

Rick Pitino has found first half success in his last three matchups and is one of the best post-season coaches of all time, but the task at hand is no easy feat.

There will be a lot of unknowns in this one, but the crowd won't be one of them. Pure electricity at The World's Most Famous Arena.


5:43pm: 13-3 St. John's | 16:06 1H

For the first time in the three days we have been doing the live blog, we have an entry before the first media timeout.

Daniss Jenkins came to PLAY. He's quickly up to eleven points in the first three minutes in change in this one.

The Garden is ROCKING.

UConn is not going to go down quietly though. Expect a counter-punch, and quickly.


5:53pm: 20-18 UConn | 12:41 1H

The best offense in college basketball pushing back? Who would have thunk it.

There is no shortage in offense in this one, and the trio of Brian O'Connell, James Breeding and Tony Chiazza will ensure that this one lives up to the expectations.

There is a buzz in the building that has matched the game-play so far. This is going to be fun.


6:21 pm: UConn 37, SJU 32

It took a while for a St. John’s player not named Daniss Jenkins to really get settled into the game, but they have, and the Johnnies are making this one competitive. It’s getting really chippy, and the energy in this building is incredible. My goodness, it’s incredible. It’s loud, people are antsy and everyone is locked in. Not to mention, this game is incredible. High-paced, physical, good offense, and physical defense. It’s truly an excellent environment, no other words to describe it.

RJ Luis has continued his high-level play. He’s so incredibly athletic, he just needs polish. The flashes he has are insane, and we’ve seen some today. Also, really like Pitino’s decision to go with Dunlap which paid off, getting a three and making UConn gravitate to him when Jenkins or Luis drive.

As for UConn, Tristen Newton looks like an All-American. He’s incredible. And Cam Spencer threw an absolute dart of a pass, which is one of his two assists on the day. Beautiful lead pass, led to a bucket and a SJU TO. Spencer has 10, Newton has 13 and the Huskies lead by five. Far and away the best game of the tournament thus far, really hope this sticks for the Full 40. -Michael DeRosa


6:47 pm: HALF: SJU 47, UConn 52

This game is incredible. Both offenses are flying and playing with flow. This building is loud, with people fully supporting both teams. Fans chirping Hurley, everything. People are rocking, this game is incredible and we’re in the World’s Most Famous Arena.

Have to think UConn looks inside more, Clingan had a quick two fouls and only played seven minutes. Same with Soriano, but for matchups I see why they went with Zuby. Wouldn’t be too surprised to see more Zuby, especially with how Jaylin Stewart played in that small ball five role. He was great, found open spots at the rim, and converted. He was UConn’s third-leading scorer with eight. Newton led the way with 20 (!!!!!) and Cam Spencer added ten of his own.

For the Johnnies, they will have to get someone other than Daniss Jenkins going this half. He had 16 and was incredibly aggressive, but not many others had much going. Zuby Eijofor had eight, and Jordan Dingle got going in the latter stages of the half with seven points. Really, really fun half of ball. No tournament like this one. -Michael DeRosa


8:09 pm: FINAL: UConn 95, St. John's 90

The champions have a name, and they are the UConn Huskies. Defending National Champs, Big East Regular Season Champions, and now the first team a part of the Big East Tournament Championship.

UConn’s offense was dynamic as always. Got any good look they wanted. Tristen Newton in particular was incredible, with 25 points, nine assists, six boards and just ONE turnover. He was incredible. Cam Spencer was excellent, finishing with 20 points on excellent shooting splits (5/10 FG, 4/5 3PT) and also finished with nine assists, topping his season high of eight he set… last game against Xavier. 

UConn also got great production from Alex Karaban and off the bench from both Jaylin Stewart and Hassan Diarra. Stewart had eight first-half points, all off of great positioning and just simply catching and finishing passes from his teammates. Diarra finished with ten points, shooting 3/5 from the field and actually had the second-best +/- on the team, only to Samson Johnson. 

This game felt in hand when UConn scored on every single possession from the 19:12 mark to the 11:38 mark. UConn had extended their lead out to 12 at that point, and the Johnnies were never able to recover.

St. John’s clawed their way back, but were never able to take the lead. Daniss Jenkins led the way for the Red Storm with 27 points and five assists. He was excellent today, scoring eleven points in the first three minutes, and keeping the hot shooting going. He was the guy who kept SJU in this game when UConn went on their huge runs.

Teammate Jordan Dingle scored 19 points on excellent shooting (9/12 FG, 3/5 3PT). SJU needed his offense in this one, and hit some really clutch shots. Felt like all of his points came in the final 30 minutes of this game. However, SJU couldn’t find a consistent third option, and in a game that evolved into a shootout, it will be hard to win without another option. Joel Soriano struggled with foul trouble and only shot 3/9 from the field, Chris Ledlum was only 2/7 and RJ Luis was just 3/9. Combined, these guys shot 8/25 (32%), which is just not good enough to knock off a team as dynamic as UConn.

The defending national champs scored at all three levels, they defended at a high level and proved why they were the class of the league this year. As for St. John’s a sweaty selection Sunday awaits them, though they should hear their name called on the right side of the bubble.

Onto the next game, which should be a really fun one! -Michael DeRosa


8:52 pm. 23-18 Marquette leads. 7:59 left in 1H.

Here at the U8, Marquette boasts a five point lead. Oso Ighodaro had four points in 42 minutes last night – he already has eight here today. Marquette is shooting 56% from the floor, with a pair of threes added into that.

Providence looks a little worn out from the past two days. Devin Carter was able to get some rest which will certainly provide some benefits down the road in this one. He’s played 78 minutes of basketball in the last two days. With so much he is relied upon on both ends, have to wonder how the legs will hold up in half number two. -Chris Thedinga


9:25 pm. HALF | 42-31 MU lead.

The Golden Eagles were ahead 35-18 with just over four minutes to go in the half. Providence responded to get the lead down to 11 by halftime.

The scoring started to heat up in the final couple minutes after a fairly sluggish start. Marquette has profited from better creation than Providence, which has led to a fair better shooting percentage. 

Kam Jones leads all scorers with 13 points. He was slightly more quiet last night, but today his skillset has been very evident. He and Ighodaro have been the primary handlers, and have done just about everything for the Golden Eagles. 

DeRosa pointed out to me that of Marquette’s 42 points — five have come from the FT line, 15 from three point range, and 22 in the paint. That’s all 42 points. None in the midrange, that’s efficient basketball.

On the Friars end, Providence really does look like a team that is playing their third game in three days. Now Devin Carter is a really special player, but it’s going to take something exceptionally heroic to pull this one out. -Chris Thedinga


9:49 pm: Marquette leads 48-39

Marquette is shooting significantly better than Providence from the field, yet the Friars are doing just enough to hang on and keep this one competitive. Huge three from Devin Carter forced a Shaka Smart timeout. The Friars fans in the building were heard from for the first time during the break.

This game still feels like PC has an uphill battle to climb, but getting the crowd into the game could do wonders for that. Very interested to see how Marquette responds. 

I’m also intently watching where Coach Smart stands when Marquette has the ball. So far, he stands with both feet often on the floor when Providence has the ball on his side, and well off the court when his team does. Only been a few possessions, but something I’m monitoring.


10:03. 56-44 Marquette.

Providence College is officially on life support here. They need this win to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament. It finds itself down twelve points with less than twelve minutes to play. 

Marquette is 2-3 from three point range here in the second half. But they’ve gotten some really great looks. Devin Carter has hit a pair of triples himself in the second half, but Superman can only do so much for so long.

Josh Oduro has a couple turnovers and zero points in the second half. Ighodaro and Oduro’s box scores are both incredibly different for playing technically the same position. I’ve been really impressed with Garway Dual. It seems like he moves without any effort. For a freshman, he has fantastic tools as a potential on-ball creator. He can pass at a really high level, and understands where his teammates should be. (As I was typing this he fouled a three point shooter that led to a four point play.)

Ticket Gaines is 0-7 from the floor with no assists in 28 minutes. He got into foul trouble early yesterday and didn’t factor into the game much – overall, a lackluster tournament for PC’s fourth-leading scorer.

I wish Sean Jones and Tyler Kolek were out there for Marquette. This rendition is still very good, but that one could have been elite. -Chris Thedinga


10:37 pm. 68-65 MU narrowly holding onto a lead.

I said earlier that there is a limit on what Superman could do. Maybe I was wrong, because Devin Carter has somehow continued this incredible play. 

He has 26 pts (7-12) now and is just willing this team back into things. He has a big time block, multiple rebounds, and four points in the past two minutes.

Marquette is just one of its last nine from the floor. You have to wonder where this PC team would be with a healthy Bryce Hopkins…

Can Devin Carter pull off something crazy? The Garden certainly wants him to.

-Chris Thedinga


10:50 pm. 79-68, Marquette, final.

In the end, Marquette prevails. Without Tyler Kolek, the Golden Eagles advance to the Big East championship. Shaka Smart has done a fantastic job with that team these past couple nights to find a way to close out games.

For Providence College, the fought hard in this second half to battle back and make it a contest. Kim English deserves all the credit the world on his side, as well. When Bryce Hopkins, a preseason All-Big East player, went down with injury we figured it would be tough. Kim squeezed everything he could out of this group.

Devin Carter led all scorers with 27 pts. Kam Jones tallied 23 of his own for the Golden Eagles. Ighodaro added 20 after just scoring four the night prior. Marquette locks itself into at least the 2-seed line after this win.

It’s likely curtains for Providence this season. You never know what the committee will do, obviously, but it certainly seems as if the Friars will be on the outside looking in.

Tomorrow, we have Marquette and UConn squaring off to become Big East champs.

-Chris Thedinga


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