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Big East Tournament: Georgetown, Syracuse Earn Dream Semifinal at MSG

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14:  Mikael Hopkins #3 of the Georgetown Hoyas celebrates on the bench against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the quaterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 14, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2013

The one rivalry that has defined the conference will see one final chapter on Friday night at Madison Square Garden thanks to two winning efforts on Thursday in the quarterfinals by Georgetown and Syracuse.

Here is a recap of those two games, and the two games played during the night session on day three of the Big East tournament.

 

No. 1 Georgetown 62, No. 9 Cincinnati 43

National Player of the Year candidate Otto Porter Jr. led the Hoyas to their second victory over Cincinnati this season by scoring a game-high 18 points. 

Porter Jr. shot a perfect 11-of-11 from the free-throw line while the Georgetown defense held the Bearcats to just 19 second half points.

Markel Starks scored 14 points for the Hoyas, while D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera contributed 13 points off the bench for the No. 1 seed.

Cashmere Wright scored 14 points in the losing effort for Cincinnati, who are surely bound to make the field of 68 on Selection Sunday.

The Big East Men's Basketball Twitter account detailed how successful the Hoyas have been as the No. 1 seed at the Big East tournament. 

 

No. 5 Syracuse 62, No. 4 Pittsburgh 59

Syracuse's road to the semifinals was a bit more difficult than the one of Georgetown as they were outscored 32-22 in the second half by Pittsburgh.

Despite their scoring struggles in the second half, Jim Boeheim's Orange team were able to squeeze out a victory in front of plenty of Syracuse alumni at Madison Square Garden. 

Four Syracuse players reached the double-digit mark in points with James Southerland leading the way with a game-high 20 points. 

After the game CBS' Jeff Borzello got this quote from Boeheim about facing Georgetown one last time. 

 

No. 2 Louisville 74, No, 7 Villanova 55

A day after securing their spot in the tournament, the Villanova Wildcats were blown out by the Louisville Cardinals, who are now in the hunt to become a No. 1 seed when the field of 68 is released on Sunday. 

Russ Smith made four three-pointers on his way to a 28-point performance for Louisville. Smith's partner in crime in the back court, Peyton Siva, scored 10 points in the Cardinals' victory. 

JayVaughn Pinkston scored 21 points for Villanova in the otherwise lackluster offensive performance by the Wildcats. 

CSN Philly's Reuben Frank detailed how bad the loss was for Villanova through this tweet. 

 

No. 6 Notre Dame 73, No. 3 Marquette 65

For the second consecutive night, Notre Dame's Pat Connaughton lit Madison Square Garden on fire with his three-point shooting.

The sophomore guard duplicated his performance against Rutgers on Wednesday by once again sinking six shots from beyond the arc. 

Connaughton ended with a game-high 18 points while Jerian Grant contributed 17 points for the Fighting Irish.

After the semifinalists were determined on Thursday night, ESPN's Dana O'Neil had a somber reminder for lovers of the Big East . 

 

What's On Tap for Friday

Here is what Friday's Big East tournament schedule looks like. Both games will be televised on ESPN. 

No. 1 Georgetown vs. No. 5 Syracuse; 7 p.m. ET

No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 6 Notre Dame; 9:30 p.m. ET

 

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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