NEW YORK Russ Smith scored 28 points in a bittersweet homecoming, leading No. 4 Louisville into the Big East tournament semifinals with a 74-55 victory over Villanova on Thursday night only hours after the death of his esteemed high school coach, Jack Curran.
Smith and the defending champion Cardinals (27-5) harassed Villanova into 25 turnovers and advanced to play Notre Dame in tonight's late game at Madison Square Garden.
Luke Hancock added 12 points off the bench for second-seeded Louisville, which has won eight straight seven by at least 14 points. Peyton Siva, the tournament MVP last year, scored 10.
JayVaughn Pinkston had 21 points for the seventh-seeded Wildcats (20-13), confident they'll receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday thanks to a string of high-profile wins against top-notch opponents this season. Mouphtaou Yarou added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
No. 5 Georgetown 62, Cincinnati 43 in New York Conference Player of the Year Otto Porter Jr. scored 18 points as the top-seeded Hoyas advanced to the Big East tournament semifinals by pulling away from the Bearcats.
Porter made all 11 of his free throws to offset a 3-of-9 performance from the field.
Markel Starks had 14 points, and reserve D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 13, including a tiebreaking three-pointer that sparked a game-turning run for the Hoyas (25-5). Georgetown will face No. 19 Syracuse in the semis.
Georgetown, looking to land a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, squandered an early 16-point cushion and fell behind briefly in the second half before clamping down with its signature defense.
Cashmere Wright hit four three-pointers and scored 14 points for ninth-seeded Cincinnati (22-11).
No. 19 Syracuse 62, No. 17 Pittsburgh 59 in New York James Southerland had a second straight great effort from three-point range, and Michael Carter-Williams scored Syracuse's last seven points as the 19th-ranked Orange held off Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.
Southerland had 20 points as he did in the second-round win over Seton Hall. The senior was 6 for 6 on threes against Pittsburgh, a day after going 6 for 9 from beyond the arc against Seton Hall.
Carter-Williams had 11 points and seven assists for the fifth-seeded Orange (25-8), who will meet top-seeded Georgetown in the semifinals Friday night.
Lamar Patterson had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Panthers (24-8).
No. 24 Notre Dame 73, No. 12 Marquette 65 in New York Pat Connaughton scored 18 points on six three-pointers, and Jack Cooley had two big offensive rebounds in Notre Dame's game-changing run as the Fighting Irish beat Marquette to reach the Big East tournament semifinals for the fourth straight year.
Unfortunately for the Irish (25-8), the road has ended there each time the last two times against No. 4 Louisville.
Jamil Wilson had 16 points and Junior Cadougan added 14 for the third-seeded Golden Eagles (23-8), who shared the regular-season title with Louisville and top-seeded Georgetown.
No. 6 Michigan 83, Penn State 66 in Chicago Trey Burke scored 21 points to lead Michigan (26-6) over Penn State (10-21) in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, avenging a shocking loss to the Nittany Lions during the regular season. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas each added 15 points for the Wolverines, who will play fourth-seeded Wisconsin in the quarterfinals today.
No. 7 Kansas 91, Texas Tech 63 in Kansas City, Mo. Ben McLemore scored 24 points to lead the Jayhawks (27-5) to a rout of the Red Raiders (11-20), setting up an intriguing date with Iowa State in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament. Kansas needed overtime to beat the Cyclones in both of their regular-season games.
No. 11 Kansas State 66, Texas 49 in Kansas City, Mo. Rodney McGruder scored 24 points and sparked an 11-0 run in the second half, lifting the Wildcats (26-6) past the Longhorns (16-17) in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.
No. 14 Oklahoma State 74, Baylor 72 in Kansas City, Mo. Phil Forte hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds left, and the Cowboys (24-7) survived after blowing a 20-point lead to beat the Bears (18-14) in the Big 12 quarterfinals.