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Wednesday 3/13 BIG EAST Tournament Live Blog:

Updated: Mar 14

3:55pm: Gooooood afternoon from the World's Most Famous Arena! Michael DeRosa, Chris Thedinga and Tommy Godin will be taking you through the week, with a live blog, tweets, podcasts and more. The best conference tournament in the world is about to kick off featuring the Xavier Musketeers and Butler Bulldogs. -Tommy Godin



4:35pm: 22-22 | 6:56 1H


Xavier has eviscerated Butler on the glass. As of 8:46 left, the rebounding totals were 18-4. Fortunately for Butler, they continue to be an efficient three-point shooting team, at 4-10 (40%). 


Ousmane has stood out as the best player on the floor at times. This is what Sean Miller envisioned when he got the North Texas transfer. He has four points, three rebounds, and two assists in just eight minutes. 


Butler’s backcourt has been feisty. This one’s going to be fun — Jahmyl Telfort picked up his second foul within the first five minutes of the game. However, Matta is continuing to roll with him in the first half, trusting his senior guard. -Chris Thedinga


 

4:40pm: 24-22 Butler | 5:00 1H


Oh no. New York native and Butler guard Posh Alexander went down and went down hard. Alexander was writhing in pain and favoring his leg.


The arena, which is approximately at half capacity, was momentarily silenced. Obviously, we are hoping the best for him, and a speedy recovery from whatever injury was sustained.


The good new for the Bulldogs however, is that they have stormed back by way of an 11-0 run to take the lead. Big five minutes upcoming at The Garden. -Tommy Godin


 

4:56: HALF | 32-31 Xavier leads


A bit of a strange first half. Xavier is outrebounding the Bulldogs 26-12, and are shooting a nearly identical line from the floor. However, Xavier’s 10 first half turnovers have kept Butler around. 


Foul trouble is something Butler will have to fend off here in the second half. Andre Screen, Jahmyl Telfort, and Jalen Thomas all with a pair of fouls. For Xavier, Olivari and Ousmane both have two as well. A lot of key players staring down the barrel of their third personal foul.


I had anticipated Xavier to attack Bizjack more while he was out there the final four minutes. They only truly went at him two possession in that stretch. Screen also held his own down low against Ousmane before picking up a foul that led to Boden Kapke checking in. - Chris Thedinga


 

5:02 pm: HALF


I'm fairly surprised that Xavier is leading despite shooting 0/8 from three and having 11 turnovers. They've gotten to the paint at will. However, Jalen Thomas, Butler's main interior defender only played 11 minutes, and was a +4 in those minutes.


A couple of interesting notes from being in the arena:


The Butler staff pulled DJ Davis aside and looked to give him a pep talk just after the U4 timeout. Straight up, with the injury to Posh, they NEED him and Brooks to go off today. Look for Moore or Bizjack to hunt their shot, too.

Quincy Olivari hit a bucket, and ran over to either Shelvin Mack, Butler President Danko or newly named AD Grant Leiendecker and had a message for them. Couldn't hear what he said, but something was said.


I don't think the Muskies will shoot that bad again, but 24/32 points in the paint is something Butler will have to tighten up. Nobody on Butler picked up a third foul, which is really good for them. Should be a fun half of basketball in MSG to close our opener. -Michael DeRosa


 

5:12 pm:


In the media section, you probably aren't supposed to audibly yell "holy shit" but that's exactly what I did when I saw Posh Alexander in warm-ups. He is a trooper, hope he's feeling good. Looked to be shaking off an injury. Did not expect to see him back, let alone starting the second half. - Michael DeRosa


 

5:25 pm: 46-43 X leads | 15:48


We’ve got both offenses cooking now. Xavier is 4-4 from deep to start the second half, keeping pace with Butler who’s off to a 66% start from the floor in the second stanza. Sean Miller calls a timeout to halt the action.


Dayvion McKnight (12.4 ppg) and Quincy Olivari (19 ppg) both have three fouls now for the Musketeers. That’s a lot of production now hindered on how aggressive they can be, at least for the next few minutes.


Butler’s recovery defensively on over-helping has been porous to start the half. On the other end, Jalen Thomas and Jahmyl Telfort have had their way down low over the Xavier bigs - Chris Thedinga


 

5:42pm: 61-58 Xavier | 7:24 2H


The offenses have cooled off, scoring just four collective baskets since the 11:12 mark of the second half, but the defensive intensity has been just as enthralling to watch as of late.


Posh Alexander has made some big plays on both sides of the ball but none bigger than a block on a Desmond Claude dunk attempt.


The limited crowd has begun to fill in with fans of all allegiances appreciating this back and forth contest going on at The Garden. I would not be surprised, nor upset, to see this go into overtime. -Tommy Godin


 

5:56 pm: 61-58 X | 7:24 The penultimate media timeout sees a three point Xavier lead. The Xavier guards have been nothing short of terrific. McKnight, Olivari, and Claude have combined for 52 pts (of X’s 61 total) and 11 assists.


The Musketeers have also shaved down their turnovers in half two, with only two TO’s through 12 minutes. Yet, Butler continues to hang around. Bulldogs have a 14-7 rebounding advantage here, and are shooting above 50% from the floor in the second half.


If Xavier continues to shoot the ball from deep the way they have, it’s going to be tough for Butler to overcome. Butler only allows teams to shoot 32% from deep on the year, but their closeouts today have been noticeably worse.


Both teams have avoided anyone picking up a fourth foul as we head to the final stretch. -Chris Thedinga


 

6:20 FINAL: 76-72 Xavier

Well, that’s going to be curtains for Butler this season.


My goodness — Olivari(19 pts), Claude(26 pts), and McKnight (20 pts) were just too good to keep up with. From 5:19 onward, Xavier missed one total shot. One shot, in over five minutes. The entire second half, it seemed like their shotmaking preventing Butler from ever gaining any momentum.


The Musketeers finished the game 7-22 from deep (31.8%), with all seven makes coming in the second half. It was more about the guards abilities in space, however. 


All three of Claude, McKnight, and Olivari excelled in opportunities to create. We saw multiple effective Claude post-ups, and Olivari simply was faster than whoever Butler threw at him on that end. 


44 points in the paint for the Musketeers, in comparison to Butler’s 30. The ninth-seeded Musketeers will get UConn tomorrow. And they’ll get every bit of what they can chew against arguably the nation’s top team. But if they are able to control the points in the paint margin similarly to today — crazier things have happened.


Boden Kapke and Andre Screen didn’t get much run tonight for the Bulldogs. The backup bigs average far more minutes than they saw in this one. There’s much to build off of this season for Butler, however. That program is in the right hands.


What a wild start here from The Garden. That was a physical, gritty, well played basketball game.

Big East basketball.


Game #2 will see Georgetown and Providence vying for the right to play the Creighton Bluejays tomorrow.

-Chris Thedinga


 

6:33 pm: FINAL


Butler’s starters were always much better than the bench this season, and in their first postseason game that was evident. Two bench points, and bad +/- across the board. Moore -13, Bizjack -9 and Screen -7. All starters except Telfort were positive. The bench minutes killed Butler today.


Butler also went under far too many Xavier screens in the second half and the Muskies made them pay. Desmond Claude was absolutely dominant. The announcer in the arena also emphasizes “Claaaauuuuuuudeeeeee” so every time he scored it hurt a little more. He was the best player on the court by far. Created everything inside, Butler had no answers. Hit multiple tough shots, including one over Telfort.


Butler missed one free throw today and it was the front end of a one-and-one. I love the one-and-one rule (really hope they keep it around), but here it hurt baaad. Just a stabbing feeling through the heart. That one was painful, especially this late in the game. Xavier didn’t miss from the line until really late in this game, by then it was in hand.


Musketeers had 44 points in the paint (on the game) and only 3 turnovers in the second half. Xavier scored often, including 16 McKnight points in the second half. He was excellent, but the story is Claude.


Credit Pierre Brooks with 21, and Posh Alexander for giving it every ounce he has. If anyone previously questioned his heart they were moronic, if you do now you have flat-out lost the plot. He gave it everything he had. The team looked dead when he got hurt, and there was a new energy after Brooks took over for the last few minutes, and completely new energy when he suited back up and played every second he could. The team rallies around their PG, he and Telfort spoke for a bit on the floor after the half, seemingly giving each other a motivational message. Really Cool.


This Bulldogs group did not quit all season, they fought. Ups and downs, looked dead at times, but still wanted it. Looked lifeless through the six-game losing streak, but fought with everything they had. 


Hope this team attacks depth and the center position in the portal. Looking forward to what this core has in store (that rhymed) for next season if they all stick around. But a brutal loss in this one, and credit to McKnight, Claude, Olivari and the rest of that Xavier team on a great performance today.


Will be updated with quotes once they are sent our way. -Michael DeRosa


 

6:59 pm.  20-7 Friars, 12:55


It’s been all Providence early on. The energy in the building has been multiplied by a pretty high integer inside of MSG – Friar fans have come out in full force. 17-2 run for Providence leads to an Ed Cooley timeout. 


It’s been a balanced scoring effort - with Barron, Carter, and Gaines all with five points. For the Hoyas, it’s been all Jayden Epps (a familiar sight). Epps has all seven Hoya points.


Kim English vs. Ed Cooley (part III) in full effect. PC looks well in control. -Chris Thedinga


 

7:40 pm. HALF - 40-27, PC leads.


Georgetown’s effective field goal percentage defense is 357th out of 362 in the country. That continued to rear its ugly head. Early on, Providence seemingly scored at will, finding open shooters on nearly every ball-handler’s drives.


Devin Carter was named Big East Player of the Year earlier this afternoon. He’s controlled the tempo of the game in the first 20 minutes, and is well on his way to a potential double-double. Carter has 10 pts on 3-8, with six rebounds added as well.


Offensively for Georgetown, so much of what they do is the ball handler coming off of a screen, and taking a three. That’s really been the offense for a decent chunk of this one. There’s a metric ton of evidence into how good of a basketball mind Ed Cooley is on the offensive end. This group has just really struggled to find it at times.


The offenses cooled after a pretty hot start. Providence hit just one of their final ten shots of the half (10%), while Georgetown connected on one of their final nine (11%).


Anticipate offensive efficiency to tick back up after the break.


Providence needs this game and one more after it for any shot at an NCAA tournament berth. 

-Chris Thedinga


 

8:09pm: 49-38 Providence 2H


At the time of this entry, Georgetown is winning this half 11-9, but still find themselves down by as many as they've scored this half.


Jayden Epps is once again proving himself to be one of the premier guards in the conference, tallying 25 of Georgetown's 40 points. The next leading scorer, Dontrez Styles, has four.


As it stands, Georgetown is on a 7-0 run and have held Providence scoreless for the better part of the lsat three minutes. They will need to keep their foot on the gas if they have any aspirations of playing spoiler tonight.


 

8:46pm: 69-56 Providence | 2H


Devin Carter. Dagger.


Providence will meet Creighton tomorrow night in a massive game for their bubble hopes. This wasn't either teams best showing (see: Georgetown's 23% from the charity stripe), but the Friars were able to get it done.


As the [expletive] Ed Cooley chants rain down from the student section, this one feels over. Villanova/DePaul on deck. -Tommy Godin


 

9:01 pm: Providence wins 74-56


Let’s be real here. The Georgetown season has more or less been done for months. The Hoyas have been looking to the portal for a while. Today was a showcase of exactly what they need. The Hoyas got 30 pints from Jayden Epps and 26 from everyone else. The young guys will develop, but the Hoyas have a lot of work to do to get talent around their core, which includes Epps. 


The Hoyas are awful defensively. While that wasn’t on full display today, the Hoyas need to recruit defense and do so ASAP. They also need multiple scorers. Straight up, they just need talent. The loss of Coach Ivan Thomas, who just took the Hampton job, will hurt recruiting efforts. I would expect for the Hoyas to look for an ace recruiter to replace Thomas. A couple of names have been rumored, among them Preston Murphy, a special assistant at Alabama who is regarded as an excellent recruiter. Will Murphy take that spot? I have no idea, but I expect Georgetown to hit the portal hard. Because well… they have to. Can’t afford another disaster year like this one. You can get a pass for a bad year one, but there needs to be substantial progress in year two.


But today, this game is about the Providence Friars and Big East Player of the Year Devin Carter. The Friars absolutely took it to the Hoyas, as they have all season long. Josh Oduro led the way with 20 points, with Carter and Ticket Gaines adding 19 and 15 respectively. Those three have absolutely carried the Friars once Hopkins went down, and kept this team afloat when everything could have gone wrong. 


This team doesn’t give in to anything, it’s the fighting spirit that their coach embodies. They’ve certainly got it going, and have a tough battle ahead of them tomorrow. It certainly won’t be as easy as today’s game was, but I also don’t think this is the best game we’ve seen Providence play. This team has an elite defense, and when the shots are falling, they will be incredibly tough to beat. They’ve got a battle tomorrow ahead against Creighton, but their fan support in the garden was excellent, and I don’t expect that to change for tomorrow. -Michael DeRosa


 

9:54 pm. 19-12 Villanova leads, 5:28 left.

We finally reach the U8 media timeout with just about five and a half minutes to go in the first half.


It took a little bit, but Villanova is starting to put a little bit of space between themselves and DePaul. It’s a low scoring affair here with the tempo being very much in Villanova’s favor, being one of the slowest tempo teams in the country.


DePaul is just 3-22 from the floor(!) and are really having trouble with Villanova’s physicality. They can’t get anything running towards the rim. Wyoming transfer Jeremiah Oden has been the only one to provide a spark for the Blue Demons.


Tyler Burton has made a couple impressive plays on both ends for Villanova. Dixon and Armstrong have six apiece.

-Chris Thedinga


 

10:14 pm. At the half, Villanova leads by just a bucket.


After starting 3-23 from the floor, DePaul made five of their last six attempts. Six of the Demons eight field goals have been three point shots.


For Villanova, a moderately uninspired first half – again. Five Villanova turnovers have led to eight DePaul points. Jordan Longino leads all scorers with nine points on 3-5 from beyond the arc. In a game where he should dominate down low, Eric Dixon has spent much of his evening on the perimeter. Dixon is 4-6 in the paint, and 0-3 from beyond the arc.


14 first half bench points for DePaul, with Jeremiah Oden playing some solid ball. He’s beat Villanova twice now on cuts to the rim. 

 

Villanova is the better basketball team. As a reminder, DePaul’s best win over the course of the year is Louisville, a team ranked 199th in KenPom. This would be a great time for Matt Brady to pick up his first Big East win.


I look for Villanova to really pull away in the first five minutes.

-Chris Thedinga


 

10:46 pm: Say it an't so! The Depaul Blue Demons are up 40-32 on Villanova, with under 13 minutes to play. Villanova has scored just five points in the second half, and haven’t scored at all in 5:31.


Over that five and a half minute scoreless stretch, ‘Nova has three turnovers, and the offense has looked clunky. Some of it is surely shotmaking, some are deeper rooted problems.


For DePaul, Matt Brady has them playing with confidence. The remaining supporters here at SMG are nearly all behind them, as well. The big difference is on the defensive end for DePaul. They are confusing Villanova. Offensively, the ball movement has been good enough to get some good looks. Even still, the Demons aren’t shooting the lights out. DePaul is just shooting 36% from the floor in this one.


This is a defining 12 minutes for Kyle Neptune.




-Chris Thedinga

 

10:58 pm: 45-45 with 7:11 left


The U8 media timeout sees Villanova all square with DePaul. Things have started to, shall we say, find its water? After getting down eight, Villanova has went on a bit of a run to get things tied.


Triples from Justin Moore and Tyler Burton helped propel things. Eric Dixon is just 1-7 from deep now, while the rest of Villanova is 7-19 (37%). DePaul’s offense has consisted of Jalen Terry (who has a double-double) and the wings shooting contested jumpers. 


DePaul is still hanging around, though. Seven minutes to play, and we have a tie. 

-Chris Thedinga

 

11:48 pm.

Justin Moore. Dagger. Cold blooded.


The Wildcats win it, 58-57. What a finish, what a game. The DePaul Blue Demons finish the season at 3-29, 0-20 in the Big East.


However, Matt Brady had that team playing its very best ball in the final game of the year. Gave Villanova everything it could handle. For the Wildcats, it left a lot to be desired tonight. There wasn't a ton of ball movement, and 67% of their shots came from three.


With the physical nature of this Villanova team, that shouldn't be the split. Not against DePaul - relying on contested threes that much? I don't know, I am just a boy who loves basketball.


It sets up an interesting one tomorrow for the Wildcats, taking on Marquette in a game that should decide their NCAA Tournament fate.





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