NEW YORK — Ashton Gibbs scored 20 points to lead Pittsburgh to a 73-59 victory over St. John’s on Tuesday in the opening round of the Big East tournament.
Gibbs scored the first seven points of a 13-2 run to close the first half that gave Pittsburgh a 33-28 lead. Nasir Robinson scored on a rebound to give the 13th-seeded Panthers a 43-32 lead with 15:07 left, and the Red Storm never were closer than nine points the rest of the game.
Robinson went 6 of 6 from the field and scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half for the Panthers (17-15), who play fifth-seeded and 13th-ranked Georgetown in the second round Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Moe Harkless had 25 points for the 12th-seeded Red Storm (13-19), who closed the season with three straight losses, one of them an 89-69 defeat at Pittsburgh six days ago.
The ninth-seeded Huskies (19-12) will play eighth-seeded West Virginia in the second round Wednesday.
Connecticut, the defending Big East tournament and national champion, had coach Jim Calhoun back on the bench for the second game. He had back surgery just eight days ago after missing eight games, of which the Huskies won only three.
SETON HALL 79, PROVIDENCE 47: Senior guard Jordan Theodore set a career high with 13 assists to go with 13 points, and freshman forward Brandon Mobley scored a career-high 16 off the bench as the 10th-seeded Pirates (20-11) blew out the Friars (15-17), who lost 15 of their last 19 games.
HAMPTON 69, MORGAN STATE 65: Darrion Pellum scored 23 points and Jasper Williams 20 as Hampton defeated Morgan State. A 3-pointer by Williams put the Pirates (11-20) ahead to stay, 57-55 with 2:22 remaining.
Once his top-seeded Dragons (27-6) lost in the championship game 59-56 to Virginia Commonwealth on Monday night, Flint had a ready argument for why his team deserves a spot.
He and other coaches in the CAA say the league’s history in the tournament speaks not only to quality of the teams at the top each year, but also to the quality of the competition overall.
George Mason made midmajor history in 2007 when the Patriots won four games and reached the Final Four. VCU won five times last year to reach the Final Four.
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