Big East Wrap: No. 4 Pitt & No. 8 Notre Dame fall

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Big East Wrap: No. 4 Pitt & No. 8 Notre Dame fall

Saturday, February 19, 2011
Posted: 5:21 p.m.

The Associated Press

St. John's 60, No. 4 Pittsburgh 59

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Dwight Hardy's underhanded flip with 1.2 seconds to play gave St. John's a 60-59 victory over No. 4 Pittsburgh on Saturday, the Red Storm's fifth win over a highly ranked team this season.

Hardy, who finished with 19 points, started his drive near midcourt, went past one defender on the right side of the court only to find another one there. He went to the baseline and underhanded the ball up and over the rim to give the Red Storm (17-9, 9-5 Big East) another highly ranked victim in Madison Square Garden.

St. John's beat then-No. 13 Georgetown, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 3 Duke and No. 10 Connecticut, all big wins in the eyes of the NCAA tournament selection committee and the Red Storm are looking for their first bid since 2002.

Ashton Gibbs, who missed the last three games with an MCL injury to his left knee, came back in a big way for the Panthers (24-3, 12-2), who had won five straight overall and five in a row over St. John's.

The junior guard finished with a career-high 26 points and was 6 of 9 from the 3-point line, matching Pittsburgh's total number of 3s in his absence.

The win is the sixth in seven games for St. John's and all of them have been with coach Steve Lavin and his staff wearing white sneakers and no ties. They started the look in the win over Duke and plan to keep it the rest of the season.

West Virginia 72, No. 8 Notre Dame 58

BOX SCORE

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- One of Truck Bryant's best games of the year gave West Virginia the start it needed to a difficult five-game stretch run.

Bryant broke out of a slump by scoring 24, West Virginia took command early in the second half and beat No. 8 Notre Dame 72-58 on Saturday, ending the Irish's seven-game winning streak.

The Mountaineers (17-9, 8-6 Big East) got a badly needed win against a ranked opponent to prop up their NCAA tournament hopes. West Virginia had been struggling since a 68-64 win over No. 11 Purdue on Jan. 16 that pushed its record to 12-4.

The Mountaineers had lost five of nine entering Saturday.

"We played with a lot of enthusiasm throughout the whole game," said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. "That is probably as hard as we have played since the Purdue game, for 40 minutes. I think everyone we put in played hard."

None more than Bryant, who single-handedly turned things around after West Virginia shot 29 percent (8 of 28) before halftime.

"On a day like this where their backs were against the wall, Bryant made some big shots," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.

Bryant had shot 24 percent from the floor and averaged six points over his last five games, but went 5 of 11 against Notre Dame -- and 10 of 2 from the foul line -- as the Mountaineers outscored the Irish 20-8 on free throws.

Bryant came within one point of his season high of 25 last month at Marquette.

"It's his best game in a long time," Huggins said. "And not just his made shots. I thought his decision making was better."

No. 17 Syracuse 84, Rutgers 80

BOX SCORE

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Kris Joseph scored six of his 21 points in overtime, and No. 17 Syracuse held off Rutgers 84-80 on Saturday.

The game was tied at 70 after regulation, and Joseph gave the Orange (22-6, 9-6 Big East) a 75-71 lead when he curled off a screen at the top of the key and swished a feed from Brandon Triche.

Jonathan Mitchell responded 16 seconds later with a 3 from the right wing, and after Scoop Jardine's baseline drive and floater made it 77-75 with 2:07 left, the Scarlet Knights missed three straight shots. Syracuse sank 7 of 10 free throws in the final 63 seconds to hold on.

Rick Jackson, who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, had a chance to win it in regulation, but he missed one of two free throws with 9.9 seconds left and James Beatty missed a long 3 at the buzzer as the game headed for overtime.

Rutgers (13-13, 4-10) has lost five of six and fell to 1-22 all-time in games played at Syracuse, including 15 straight losses. The lone victory was 76-75 on Feb. 6, 1975 -- the season before Jim Boeheim became head coach of the Orange.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Related: No. 15 'Nova ekes out OT win over DePaul

Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

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Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

Delaware has its new head basketball coach in Martin Ingelsby.

Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, comes from Notre Dame, where he played from 1997-2001 and coached for 13 seasons, seven as an assistant.

Ingelsby played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and is the son of Tom Ingelsby, who played for Villanova from 1970-73.

Delaware is coming off a 7-23 season and 2-16 mark in CAA play, which led to the firing of head coach Monte Ross.

The Blue Hens, who announced the hire Tuesday, will formally introduce Ingelsby in a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium.

Josh Hart returning to Villanova for senior season

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Josh Hart returning to Villanova for senior season

Villanova’s chances at repeating as national champions just got much better.

Josh Hart is returning for his senior season.

The Wildcats’ leading scorer from last season’s title-winning team tweeted this Tuesday night:

Shortly after, Villanova officially announced the news.

Hart was in the midst of going through the NBA draft process, attending the combine in Chicago and working out for teams. By not hiring an agent, he was able to test the waters without jeopardizing his final year of college eligibility. Hart had until Wednesday to make a decision, which is coming back to the defending champs.

“I enjoyed the process and learned a lot,” Hart said in a statement released by the school. “It was definitely worthwhile. I look forward to graduating next year and coming back to play with my teammates.”

As a junior, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field. He put up 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists in Villanova’s 95-51 Final Four win over Oklahoma, before following it up with 12 points and eight rebounds in the national title game in which the Wildcats thrillingly won at the buzzer, 77-74, on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer.

Hart and Jenkins, the team’s two leading scorers, return along with key pieces Jalen Brunson (9.6 ppg), Phil Booth (7.0 ppg), Mikal Bridges (6.4 ppg) and Darryl Reynolds (4.5 rpg).

“Josh Hart did a great job in this process,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “I’m really proud of the way that he showed himself. I am really happy for him that he is returning to play with his classmates and that he will graduate on time.” 

National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

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National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

It's been nearly two months since Villanova won the National Championship in one of the most memorable games in NCAA Tournament history.

Since then, the Wildcats have been honored by the city (parade), the New York Stock Exchange (opening bell), the Phillies (first pitch), the Flyers and the Union. Earlier this week, head coach Jay Wright addressed the Eagles.

But that will all pale in comparison to where the Wildcats will be next Tuesday, when they become the latest championship team to visit the White House and meet President Barack Obama.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 4:10 p.m. and will be streamed on www.whitehouse.gov/live.

In his pool, President Obama had Villanova finally advancing past the second round — "I know that eventually they're going to break through. They've had some bad luck over the last couple of years," Obama told ESPN.com — but had the Wildcats falling to Kansas in the regional semifinal.

He then had Kansas beating North Carolina to win the title.

After surviving the first weekend for the first time since their Final Four run in 2009, Villanova ousted Kansas, 64-59, before shocking Buddy Hield and Oklahoma in the national semifinal, winning by 44. The Wildcats then won one of the most memorable championship games in NCAA Tournament history when Kris Jenkins hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Tar Heels, 77-74.