The University of Connecticut, Georgetown University, the University of Louisville and the University of South Florida advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big East conference men’s basketball tournament.
Connecticut beat West Virginia University 71-67 in overtime, rallying from an 11-point second-half deficit. Henry Sims had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead Georgetown to a 64-52 win against Pittsburgh, Peyton Siva’s 14 points led Louisville to a 61-55 defeat of Seton Hall and Anthony Collins scored 17 points in South Florida’s 56-47 win over Villanova.
Shabazz Napier scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half for ninth-seeded Connecticut, which held the same seed last year in winning on five straight days to take the Big East championship. The Huskies, who went on to win last season’s national title, will face top seed Syracuse today.
“Their front court dominated for most of the game,” said Huskies coach Jim Calhoun. “Our back court held its own, and then took over and won the game for us.”
West Virginia led by 11 points midway through the second half at Madison Square Garden in New York before Connecticut responded. Napier missed a 3-point attempt in the closing seconds that would have given Connecticut the win. He fouled out during overtime.
The Mountaineers had a 40-24 rebound advantage in the game. They had 21 offensive rebounds, including four from forward Deniz Kilicli, who fouled out with 4 minutes, 20 seconds remaining and West Virginia leading by nine.
Napier scored nine points in those final four minutes and Connecticut (20-12) outscored West Virginia 6-2 in the extra period, helped by a 3-pointer from Jeremy Lamb, who finished with 22 points and eight rebounds.
Kevin Jones led the eighth-seeded Mountaineers (19-13) with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
“There’s nothing like coming to the Garden to play in the tournament,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “We’ve enjoyed it, most of it, anyway.”
The five-round tournament concludes March 10.
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