Big East Tournament Day 1 Live Blog: DePaul vs. UConn, Rutgers vs. Seton Hall

Joseph FafinskiCorrespondent IMarch 8, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 27:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies drives to the basket against Ashton Gibbs #12 of the Pittsburgh Panthers at Petersen Events Center on December 27, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Joseph Fafinski here covering the second game of Day One of the 2011 Big East Basketball Tournament. This game will feature the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who at 14-16 overall and 5-13 in conference need a prayer to get to the NCAA Tournament. Their opponents, the Seton Hall Pirates, are 13-17 with a 7-11 mark in the Big East.

The game is taking place at legendary Madison Square Garden in New York.

2:35 PM ET

The starting lineups have come onto the hardwood. Jeremy Hazell, Jordan Theodore, Herb Pope, Fuguan Edwin, and Jeff Robinson are the starters for Seton Hall. Rutgers has James Beatty, Dane Miller, Mike Coburn, Jonathan Mitchell, and Gilvydas Biruta in their starting lineup.

2:40 PM ET

Gilvydas Biruta hits the first basket of the game, a floater from eight feet. Mitchell hits another one for the Scarlet Knights to make it 4-0 early. The Pirates' Pope misses a shot and Miller grabs the rebound. Biruta makes another basket for a six-point lead in the first three minutes of play.

2:43 PM ET

Seton Hall forces a turnover, and a foul is called on James Beatty of Rutgers. A timeout is called here, and with 15:18 left in the first half Rutgers leads Seton Hall 6-0.

2:48 PM ET

Jeremy Hazell misses his first chance of the game, and after another miss by Pope the team is zero-for-eight from the field. Austin Johnson hits a layup and gets fouled for Rutgers. His free throw is good, and the score is now 9-0 in favor of the Scarlet Knights. Hazell misses another chance, and after a Rutgers miss Jordan Theodore converts for Seton Hall with 13:34 to go in the first half. A miss by Rutgers leads to a Pope bucket for the Pirates, and with 12:58 to go in the first half it is a 9-4 Rutgers lead over Seton Hall.

2:52 PM ET

Biruta drives to the paint and gets fouled. He misses the first foul shot, and drains the second, giving Rutgers a 10-4 advantage. Hazell misses another shot. Patrik Auda then hits a three for the Pirates on the next possession, slimming the margin to three. After a Knight miss, Hazell drives the court, makes the layup, and gets the foul. Timeout is called, and Rutgers leads 10-9 with 10:41 left in the first half.

3:01 PM ET

Hazell's free throw is good, and Seton Hall ties the game at 10 and is on a 10-0 run. Rutgers has missed five in a row. Biruta ends the streak with a layup and the foul, and converts the and-one. Mitchell makes another layup, and it is 15 to 10, St. John's out front with 9:52 to go. The Pirates' Jeff Robinson follows that up with a second-chance layup to make it 15-12. Biruta is fouled once again, and will go to the line. He makes one of two, and the Scarlet Knights have a four point lead. Robinson converts again to cut the lead to two. Miller gets a second chance and make it, and the lead is 18-14 for Rutgers. Hazell buries a three to cut it down to a one-point margin. A TV timeout is called, and the Pirates are down 18-17 with 7:21 to go in the first half of play here in New York.

3:08 PM ET

Pope banks one home for Hall, and they now lead by the slimmest of margins at 19-18. Biruta will go to the line once again for Rutgers. The Lithuanian drains one of two again to tie the game. Hazell heads to the line for the Pirates and hits one. Robinson hits another one for Hall, and they lead 22-19 with 4:50 left. A timeout is called by the Pirates. There is 4:32 left in the game and Seton Hall leads by three.

3:13 PM ET

Beatty hits a shot for the Knights, and the foul is called. You can really tell that Rutgers is hurting without Biruta on the court, their second leading scorer. Beatty misses the free throw. Hazell nails a 25-footer, and Hall leads by four. Hazell makes another layup on the following possession, and the Pirates are on a 13-3 run in the last five minutes. After an offensive foul a timeout is called. Seton Hall leads 27-21 with 2:24 to go in the first half.

3:19 PM ET

Jordan Theodore banks one for the Pirates to make it an eight-point game. Coburn hits the first three of the game for Rutgers to put it back to a five-point deficit. Theodore answers with a three of his own. Seton Hall has really come on strong offensively since the 14 minute mark. Coburn hits another jumper for the Knights. An ugly end possession sees no points for Hall, and they go into the half with a 32-26 lead over the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers.

Halftime Notes, 3:28 PM ET

1. Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell, one of the best feel-good stories of the year, leads all scorers with 12 points.

2. Hall has hit four threes to Rutgers' one.

3:42 PM ET

Hazell opens the second half with a bucket. Miller answers for the Scarlet Knights. Hazell one ups him and makes another floater; that's 16 for the Harlem native. Biruta heads to the line for the Knights after being fouled and hits them both to cut the lead to six. A pair of Rutgers' baskets cut the margin to two. A three-point play by Robinson gives Seton Hall a 39-34 lead with just over 16 minutes to go.

3:45 PM ET

Austin Carroll's three puts it right back to a two-point Hall lead. Dane Miller's bucket ties the game, and you have to love the intensity being played by the Knights here. Edwin's basket makes it a 41-39 lead with 14:12 to go in the game.

3:55 PM ET

Eniel Polynice's basket makes it a four point game. On the other side, Biruta draws the foul and will go to the line. He misses both, further continuing his struggles from the charity stripe. Jonathan Mitchell's three gets the team back to within one point. Theodore answers back quickly with a layup. There is 11:26 to go in the game, and Seton Hall leads 45-42.

4:04 PM ET

Beatty and Polynice exchange baskets, the latter being a three-pointer. Theodore buries another three pointer and Rutgers calls a timeout. With 10:13 left, Seton Hall leads by seven. Mike Coburn converts the three point play to cut the margin to four. Hazell does what he does best for the Pirates and hits another three. After a Scarlet Knight free throw, a foul is called on Jordan Theodore with 8:03 left in the game.

4:15 PM ET

Hazell drives to the hole and hits and floater as he gets fouled. The free throw is no good but it is a 56-48 Seton Hall lead with 7:44 to go. Two Scarlet Knight free throws make it a six point deficit. Hazell's hustle keeps the possession alive, but no points come out of it. Beatty's three cuts the Hall lead in half. Hazell gets fouled as he tosses up the jumper, and makes one free throw to make the score 57-53 in the Pirates' favor. Mitchell's layup cuts the lead in half. Beatty's three gives Rutgers its' first lead in a long time at 58-57 with 4:05 left.

4:20 PM ET

Seton Hall's field goal-less streak has hit five minutes now and Rutgers has control of the ball with two minutes to go. Mitchell is fouled with just under two minutes to go and will go to the line. Rutgers leads with a 58-57 score.

4:26 PM ET

Mitchell, a 79 percent free throw shooter, hits one of two to make it a 59-57 lead for the Scarlet Knights. Hazell is fouled on the ensuing possession, and will shoot three free throws. He makes the first, misses the second, and drains the third to tie the game with 1:24 left in the game. After a Rutgers turnover, Jeff Robinson gets fouled and is headed to the line for two shots. Robinson, a 73 percent shooter at the line, hits both of his attempts, and Seton Hall calls a timeout with 56 seconds left and a 61-59 lead.

4:29 PM ET

Polynice steals the ball from Rutgers and misses a free throw once he is fouled. Mitchell drains a three to take the lead for Rutgers with 20 seconds left. Coburn steals the ball from Theodore with 8.9 seconds left and is fouled. He makes the first shot and coach Mike Rice calls his final timeout.

4:32 PM ET

What a finish we are going to have here at the Madison Square Garden. Coburn's second free throw attempt is up and good. Seton Hall needs a three to tie the game, and Jeremy Hazell hits a three to tie it with a second left! We are going to overtime, folks! 

4:38 PM ET

Overtime begins with Seton Hall getting the ball before missing a shot. Hazell gets to the line the following possession and misses yet another free throw. Beatty hits the first basket of the extra session a minute and a half in.

4:45 PM ET

Biruta has fouled out of the game after a dead ball contact technical. Rutgers makes one of their free throws to make the score 67 to 64 in favor of Rutgers. Seton Hall hits both of his free throws to cut the lead to one and retain possession. The Pirates return to the line their next time down, and Edwin hits both of them to make a 68-67 Hall lead with 2:10 to go in overtime. Mitchell will go to the line after the break. There are two minutes left in the overtime period.

4:49 PM ET

Mitchell hits them both to give Rutgers a 69-68 lead. Pope gets a layup to give the Pirates the lead. Mitchell will go back to the line after Pope's fourth foul. The Scarlet Knight misses the first foul shot but sinks the second. It's now tied at 70 here with 1:11 left. Dane Miller will head to the line after being fouled with 55.2 seconds left. Herb Pope has fouled out.

4:53 PM ET

Miller misses his first attempt and sinks the second. Rutgers by one with less than a minute to go. Edwin fouls Mitchell and he has fouled out of the game. Jonathan Mitchell drains both of his foul shots to make it a 73-70 Rutgers lead with 28.1 seconds to go. A turnover by Hazell will send Mitchell to the line with a chance to clinch the win.

4:56 PM ET

Jonathan Mitchell misses the first and makes the second. Rutgers by four here, and a missed shot by Seton Hall means that Rutgers is going to advance here. Mitchell hits both free throws to give Rutgers a 75-70 lead, and that's where it will end here in overtime.

Thanks for reading!


Joseph Fafinski here covering the first game of Day One of the 2011 Big East Basketball Tournament. The first game will matchup the 7-23 DePaul Blue Demons, the 16th seed in the tournament, versus the 21-9 and ninth-seeded Connecticut Huskies.

The game is taking place at legendary Madison Square Garden in New York.

12:00 PM ET

The starting lineups have come on. DePaul is starting Krys Faber at center, Tony Freeland and Brandon Young at forward, and Jimmy Drew and Jeremiah Kelly at guard. UCONN is starting Jeremy Lamb, Tyler Olander, Roscoe Smith, Charles Okwandu, and of course at point guard Kemba Walker.

12:11 PM ET

The first commercial is on, and so far it's 7-4 UCONN on top with 15:58 left in the first half. Jeremy Lamb has five points for the Huskies and is two-for-two from the floor.

12:18 PM ET

Kemba Walker is finally on the scoreboard with two field goals made. It's currently 11-8 UCONN with 13:22 left in the first half. You can really tell that DePaul is missing its star, Cleveland Melvin, who is out for the rest of the season with injury.

12:23 PM ET

Moses Morgan of the Blue Demons has hit a three-pointer, making it a two point game in favor of UCONN. After a missed Kemba Walker jumper, Alex Oriakhi tips it in. Brandon Young's three shortens the deficit to 15-14 with 10:26 left in the first half.

12:27 PM ET

Lamb hits another jumper to make it 17-14 UCONN. An and-one on the Huskies' next possession makes it a six-point game. DePaul tries another three, their third consecutive miss, and UCONN takes advantage with another layup to make it 22-14 UCONN with 9:08 to go in the first half.

12:31 PM ET

Lamb makes the free-throw to make it a nine-point game. They are on an 8-0 run in the last minute. Kemba Walker finds Okwandu for a layup. DePaul misses a layup, their fifth consecutive errant shot. With 7:49 left in the first half, Connecticut has opened up an 11-point lead, 25-14, over DePaul. The Blue Demons are shooting an awful eight for 32, or 25 percent. This game could be over in a hurry.

12:37 PM ET

Jeremy Lamb is on a roll, getting yet another and-one right off the timeout. He has such a beautiful finish. DePaul hasn't scored now in four minutes and the Huskies are on a 13-0 run. Moses Morgan, DePaul's leading scorer for the day, picks up his second personal on the following possession. Kemba Walker heads to the line and drains the first one, and hits nothing but net on the second one. It's 30-14 UCONN with 6:25 left in the first half.

12:38 PM ET

There's 5:51 to go in the first half and DePaul has hit a three and a deuce to make it a 31-19 advantage for the Huskies.

12:44 PM ET

Oriahki's free throw makes it 32-19 UCONN. Brandon Young makes one of two for the Blue Demons to make it a 12-point game. A great offensive rebound and hustle by Roscoe Smith puts the Huskies at the line. He drains them both. It's 34-20 with 4:39 to go. Young hits another contested jumper for the Demons. He has six, half his average for the season. Jeremy Lamb throws it down for the Huskies, putting it back to a 14-point contest. Roscoe Smith comes back and makes another shot, giving the Huskies a 38-22 advantage with 3:01 to go. Interestingly enough, the Huskies are a perfect 11-for-11 from the line and shooting exactly 50 percent from the floor.

12:49 PM ET

Oriahki's dunk makes it a 20-point UCONN lead. Jeremy Lamb's layup leads to a 44-22 game with 2:04 left in the first half.

12:52 PM ET

DePaul coach Oliver Purnell receives a technical foul, and Kemba Walker, who hasn't been as big of an impact as expected, makes one. Brandon Young's and-one cuts the Husky lead to 45-25 with 1:54 to go in the first half and erases a 11-0 UCONN run. A three-second violation causes Connecticut to turn the ball over with 1:08 to go. 

12:55 PM ET

A layup by Young makes it 45-27. Faber had a nice block on Oriahki. Freeland goes to the line and hits the second one. Connecticut can have the final shot here, and they will-- a miss by Lamb at the buzzer. At the end of the first half it is 45 to 28, and the Connecticut Huskies are on top.

Halftime Notes- 12:59 PM ET

Here are some interesting notes as we hit the end of the first half:

1. Jeremy Lamb, who averaged nine points during the regular season, has 17 in the first half.

2. Kemba Walker hasn't been much of a factor for the Huskies yet, scoring seven and dishing out two assists.

3. DePaul is shooting better beyond the arc (30 percent) than inside of it (29.2 percent).

4. Connecticut is outrebounding the Demons 28-13.

1:15 PM ET

Tony Freeland opens with a layup. Kemba Walker hits two free throws and misses a jumper quickly. Young hits a three-pointer for the Demons and gets a steal shortly afterward. He is headed to the line to shoot two. Young, who shoots 71 percent at the line, drains them both. Suddenly it's a 12-point game, 47-35.

1:20 PM ET

Freeland gets another quick steal, and gets fouled. He makes both free throws, and now it's a 10 point game; 47-37. Walker drives down and gets to the line, making both of them. 18:09 left in the second half, and it's 49-37 UCONN. Faber's dunk on the other side makes it a ten point game again. It's an 11-4 run to start the second half for DePaul. Walker's jumper puts the lead back to 12. He's got 13 points now. Freeland, who is playing with heart and soul right now, is headed to the line to shoot two. 16:51 to go in the first half and it's 51 to 39, a Connecticut lead. Officials are reviewing to see if the foul was intentional.

1:24 PM ET

The foul isn't intentional, and Freeland hits one free throw to make it 51-40. Okawndu makes it 53-40. Walker makes it a 15-point game before giving off a huge grin. Kelly hits a three, then Walker hits another jumper. He is playing so well this half. Napier makes his first field goal. It's 59-43 UCONN right now, and there is 14:22 to go in the second half.

1:31 PM ET

I'm surprised by how hard DePaul is still playing despite having the slimmest of chances to go to the big dance. Kelly hits a three for the Demons, making it 59-46. Then they get a chance for three more points as Moses Morgan is fouled, and he makes two. Okwandu makes a layup to make it 61-48. Drew hits a spot-on three for the Demons. This game isn't over, folks! 12:34 to go, and it's 61-51 Connecticut.

1:34 PM ET

Kemba Walker's runner makes it a 12-point game once more. What a second half he is having here. A foul on UCONN's Donnell Beverly causes a timeout. There is 11:45 to go, and UCONN leads DePaul 63 to 51.

1:38 PM ET

Jeremiah Kelly hits another three, his fourth of the game. Freeland gets a steal and a bucket to make it a seven-point game! Coombs-McDaniel's bucket puts the lead back to nine. A turnover by the Demons lead to, yes, another Kemba Walker basket. It's 67-56 UCONN right now with 10 minutes left. Lamb misses a three and the Blue Demons can't take advantage. 

1:40 PM ET

Walker is headed to the line after a foul. He makes one, his 22nd point of the day. It's the 21st game that he has more than 20 this season. Young makes a layup for the Demons, and Jimmy Drew steals the inbound! He makes a layup, and gets fouled! It is 68-60 UCONN, with Drew at the line. He hits it to make it a seven-point game. 8:49 to go in the second half. Stay tuned, folks.

1:44 PM ET

Two free throws for the Huskies make it 70-61. Walker's dish to Napier on the following possession makes it 72-61 Huskies. Drew nearly travels, but calls a timeout with 7:56 to go in the second half. It's an 11-point Husky lead. 

1:48 PM ET

Drew's three gets blocked, and Jeremy Lamb takes advantage with a layup. Morgan follows up for the Demons with a jumper. 7:10 to go in the second half, and it's 74 to 63, Huskies on top here in the Big Apple.

1:55 PM ET

Walker is fouled and heads to the line. A lane violation cancels the miss, and coach Jim Calhoun isn't happy about it. The Huskies get the ball back and Walker hits the jumper to make it a 13-point game. He then hustles down and takes a successful charge, giving UCONN the ball with 6:41 left. After a Huskies foul the Demons head to the line, where one of two is made. UCONN breaks down DePaul's fast break D for a layup to make it 78-64 with 5:10 left.

2:00 PM ET

Napier gets another layup to make it a 16-point game. He has eight points and six assists for the Huskies. Walker brings it up and gets fouled the following possession. He makes both free throws to make it 82-64 with 4:32 left. UCONN is on a 14-3 run here, and Walker has 26 points. Coombs-McDaniel hits another three for UCONN, and this is turning into a second-half blowout. There is 3:21 to go, and Connecticut has an 85-64 lead.

2:07 PM ET

Kelly hits his fifth three-pointer of the game, this one coming from beyond NBA range. Napier heads to the line for the Huskies after being hacked, and he makes both of his tries. Morgan fouls Napier again, and he will go to the charity stripe once more. He hits the first, and Kemba Walker takes a seat after a 26-point, seven-rebound performance. Napier hits the second, making it 88-67 in favor of UCONN. A brick by DePaul leads to an Oriakhi layup to make it a 23-point game. Oriakhi has 10 points and 19 rebounds for Connecticut. Young hits another one for the Demons. Roscoe Smith follows it with a dunk in transition. A missed three by Kelly on the other end leads to another Oriakhi layup, and he gets fouled and drains the and-one. With 51 seconds left, it is a 95-69 game.

2:09 PM ET

Two free throws by DePaul cut the lead to "only" 24. UCONN follows it with two free throws. It's 97-71 now, and Stovall misses a floater for the Demons and that's gonna end it here. Final score: Connecticut 97, DePaul 71.