The 2018 Big East men's basketball tournament continued Thursday with the quarterfinal round from storied Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Marquette and St. John's picked up victories in the opening round Wednesday to join the conference's top six finishers as part of Thursday's action. The Big East field is headlined by No. 1 seed Xavier and No. 2 seed Villanova, who entered the week third and second, respectively, in the Associated Press poll.
Check out the tournament details, which will get updated through the conclusion of the quarterfinals, followed by a recap of each game.
March 8 Results
Game 3: (1) Xavier 88, (9) St. John's 60
Game 4: (5) Providence 72, (4) Creighton 68 (OT)
Game 5: (2) Villanova 94, (7) Marquette 70
Game 6: (6) Butler 75, (3) Seton Hall 74
March 9 Schedule
Game 7: (1) Xavier vs. (5) Providence — 6:30 p.m. ET
Game 8: (2) Villanova vs. (6) Butler — 9 p.m. ET
Xavier 88, St. John's 60
Xavier scored 55 points in the second half to pull away after St. John's played the tournament's top seed tough throughout the opening 20 minutes.
The Musketeers threw down several highlight-reel dunks during the final minutes to put an exclamation point on the victory. That didn't sit well with the Red Storm, leading to a brief scuffle during the postgame handshake line, as Fox College Hoops showcased:
Matt DeMarinis of the White & Blue Review provided further details:
Trevon Bluiett was sensational for Xavier once again. The senior guard led all scorers with 27 points along with seven rebounds. Kaiser Gates also provided a spark for the top seed by making six of his seven shots off the bench en route to 16 points.
Marvin Clark II, Shamorie Ponds and Justin Simon combined for 47 points in the loss. The other five players who saw the floor for St. John's tallied just 13 points on 27.8 percent shooting.
Providence 72, Creighton 68 (OT)
Alpha Diallo scored seven straight points for Providence at the end of regulation and the start of overtime to help lead the Friars to the semifinals.
While the victory should lock the Friars into the NCAA tournament field, head coach Ed Cooley was confident in his team's standing regardless, per Matt Sugam of the Associated Press:
Diallo finished the contest with 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Jalen Lindsey added a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.
Marcus Foster posted 19 points for the Bluejays, who should also be safely in the March Madness field despite the quarterfinal loss.
Villanova 94, Marquette 70
Villanova added another win to its resume and continued to make the case for a No. 1 seed come Selection Sunday with a 94-70 victory over Marquette.
The Golden Eagles hung tough for the first half and were only down seven at intermission, but Villanova rode stars Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges and pulled away for a blowout victory. Bridges spearheaded the effort with 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Brunson added 21 points and three assists.
The Wildcats also caught fire from three-point range as they demonstrated how dangerous they figure to be this month. All five starters hit at least one shot from distance, and the team as a whole shot 15-of-29 (51.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
Marquette didn't have enough firepower to keep up with the Big East's No. 2 seed, but Markus Howard (23 points, three assists and five made three-pointers) and Andrew Rowsey (22 points, two assists and five made three-pointers) did what they could in the losing effort.
Butler 75, Seton Hall 74
After watching a Villanova blowout, fans at Madison Square Garden were treated to a nail-biter to close Thursday's slate, as Tyler Wideman's put back gave Butler a 75-74 victory over Seton Hall.
The final minute featured dramatic swings with both teams seizing momentum. Myles Powell's three-pointer put Seton Hall up one, Kamar Baldwin's contested jumper put Butler up one, Khadeen Carrington's and-one put Seton Hall back ahead and Wideman then won it.
Baldwin was phenomenal for the Bulldogs, scoring 32 points and dishing out three assists in the winning effort. Wideman added 10 points, none more important than the final two, and Butler overcame an abysmal 6-of-26 mark from three-point range.
On the other side, Carrington stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds but lost his chance to be the hero when Wideman crashed the offensive glass.