Neither Syracuse nor Pittsburgh wanted to see its Big East tenure end in the quarterfinals of their last conference tournament.
James Southerland (20 points) and Michael Carter-Williams (11 points, seven assists) kept No. 19 Syracuse’s run at one more title going in a 62-59 victory over No. 17 Pittsburgh on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Both schools are leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. But their game didn’t disappoint the sellout crowd.
“We know that this means a lot to us, as a basketball team and as a program,” Syracuse’s Brandon Triche said. “This can very much jump start us to the [NCAA] tournament.”
The fifth-seeded Orange (25-8) advanced to the semifinals against top-seeded Georgetown, which is one of the seven Catholic schools that have left their football counterparts behind in an attempt to have a basketball-centric conference.
“The doubleheader that’s going to be here tomorrow night will be a great basketball night, I think,” Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim said. “It’s a great way for this league to go out.”
Southerland had a second straight great effort from three-point range and Carter-Williams scored Syracuse’s last seven points against the Panthers (24-8).
●KANSAS 91, TEXAS TECH 63: In the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo., Ben McLemore scored 24 points to lead the No. 7 Jayhawks to an intriguing date with Iowa State in the semifinals. Kansas shot 66 percent from the field (31 of 47), the best mark by any team in a Big 12 tournament game.
Dejan Kravic scored 20 points, Dusty Hannahs added 15 and Jordan Tolbert had 13 for the Red Raiders (11-20).
●UCLA 80, ARIZONA STATE 75: The Bruins broke out new uniforms that looked like pajamas and played like they were barely awake well into the second half in a Pacific-12 quarterfinal in Las Vegas.
Freshman Shabazz Muhammad snapped the 21st-ranked Bruins out of it. He scored 12 of 16 points in the second half and Travis Wear hit a jumper with 11 seconds left to defeat the Sun Devils.
“These guys never quit. They never gave up,” UCLA Coach Ben Howland said. “They never stopped believing in themselves and each other and really found a way to battle back.”
Wearing uniforms with sleeves and matching camouflage-patterned shorts, the Bruins (24-8) got off to a groggy start against Arizona State (21-12) and appeared to be in danger of becoming the second straight top seed to lose its first game in the Pac-12 tournament.
“Anytime they had an open look down the home stretch, they made it,” Arizona State Coach Herb Sendek said. “They didn’t let us off the hook. . . . They were making shots.”
●MICHIGAN 83, PENN STATE 66: No costly mistakes this time for the sixth-ranked Wolverines in a Big Ten first-round game in Chicago.
Trey Burke scored 21 points as Michigan avenged a shocking loss to the Nittany Lions during the regular season.
“It was a lot of motivation coming into this game,” Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said. “We knew what they did to us at Happy Valley and we really wanted to do a great job just going into the game, sticking to the game plan, and just playing Michigan basketball.”
Hardaway and Nik Stauskas each had 15 points for the Wolverines (26-6), who will play fourth-seeded Wisconsin in the quarterfinals. Freshman reserve Mitch McGary added 10 points and 11 rebounds to help Michigan to a 28-15 advantage in second-chance points.
“Their bigs did a tremendous job today,” Penn State Coach Patrick Chambers said. “I think that was really the difference. The bigs finished. They hurt us on the offensive glass as well.”
D.J. Newbill scored 20 points for the Nittany Lions (10-21), who faded after a fast start. Sasa Borovnjak scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half, and Ross Travis finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Michigan had a chance to grab a share of the Big Ten title when it hosted Indiana last Sunday, but the Hoosiers won, 72-71. The Wolverines then slipped to the fifth seed for the conference tournament, giving them a game on the first day at the United Center while the top four seeds rested.