Arinze Onuaku crashed to the floor and clutched his right knee, writhing in pain at Madison Square Garden. Suddenly, top-seeded Syracuse had more to worry about than a loss in its Big East tournament opener.
Chris Wright scored 27 points and No. 22 Georgetown sailed past the third-ranked Orange with an impressive second-half surge that yielded a 91-84 victory in the quarterfinals yesterday.
Though still a strong candidate for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Syracuse (28-4) sustained a potentially costly loss when its starting center was injured with 5:07 remaining.
Onuaku landed awkwardly after trying to block Greg Monroe’s shot down low. He grabbed his knee immediately and was tended to by medical staff and coach Jim Boeheim before being helped off the floor.
“He has a strain. We don’t know for sure if it’s any more than that. We’ll find out,’’ Boeheim said.
Austin Freeman added 18 points in his third game since being diagnosed with diabetes. Jason Clark had 17 for the No. 8 seed Hoyas (22-9), who play Marquette in the semifinals.
West Virginia 54, Cincinnati 51 — Da’Sean Butler banked in a 3-pointer from the head of the key at the buzzer to give the No. 7 Mountaineers a victory over the Bearcats (18-15).
The third-seeded Mountaineers (25-6) were the only one of the conference’s top four seeds to advance to the semifinals. They will face seventh-seeded Notre Dame, which beat second-seeded Pittsburgh, tonight.
Marquette 80, Villanova 76 — Lazar Hayward gave the Golden Eagles the lead for good with a 3-pointer with 1:51 to play, then added the clinching free throws with 3.2 seconds left in a win over the No. 10 Wildcats.
Marquette (22-10) will face Georgetown in the semifinals tonight. Corey Stokes had 22 points for Villanova (24-7).
Notre Dame 50, Pittsburgh 45 — Luke Harangody came off the bench and hit three key free throws in the final two minutes, helping the Irish hold off the No. 16 Panthers (24-8) for their season-best sixth straight victory.
Harangody and Tory Jackson each had 12 points in a defensive struggle. When the dust finally cleared, Notre Dame (23-10) had consecutive wins in the Big East tournament for the first time since joining the league.
Big 12 — Cole Aldrich had 12 points and 18 rebounds, and top-ranked Kansas (30-2) became the third team to reach 2,000 wins by beating scrappy Texas Tech, 80-68, in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City. Texas Tech (17-15) all but secured an NIT berth . . . Jamar Samuels scored 21 of his career-high 27 points in the first half, helping No. 9 Kansas State turn a rematch with Oklahoma State into an 83-64 rout. The Wildcats (25-6) had been waiting to play the Cowboys (22-10) again since a home loss in January. They opened the game with a big run and closed the first half with an even bigger one, leaving no doubt while tying a school single-season record for wins . . . LaceDarius Dunn, benched with three quick fouls in the first half, rebounded with 17 of his 19 points after intermission and No. 21 Baylor (25-6) made it three in a row over Texas (24-9) with an 86-67 victory . . . Donald Sloan scored 23 points and Bryan Davis had a key 3-point play late, enabling No. 23 Texas A&M (23-8) to stave off upset-minded Nebraska, 70-64.
Mountain West — Darrington Hobson’s 28 points helped eighth-ranked New Mexico stave off a scare from pesky Air Force, 75-69, in the quarterfinals in Las Vegas. Dairese Gary added 20 points for the Lobos (29-3), who set a school record for wins in a season and extended their winning streak to 15 . . . Jimmer Fredette set a tournament record with 45 points and Brigham Young broke the school’s 60-year-old mark for wins in a season with a 95-85 victory over TCU. The Cougars (29-4) will face the UNLV-Utah winner in the semifinals. Fredette was 23 of 24 from the foul line . . . D.J. Gay sank two free throws with 23 seconds left and Travis Busch missed a desperation runner at the buzzer as San Diego State edged Colorado State, 72-71. The fourth-seeded Aztecs (23-8) will face top-seeded New Mexico (29-3).
SEC — Wayne Chism had 17 points and 10 rebounds and No. 15 Tennessee (24-7) overcame its worst first half of the season to beat LSU, 59-49, in a first-round game in Nashville. Tennessee, the only ranked team to play on the first day after finishing third in the East, advances to play Mississippi, the West’s No. 2 seed . . . Alex Tyus scored 24 points, and Florida snapped a three-game skid by beating Auburn, 78-69 . . . Mikhail Torrance’s 9-foot jumper broke a tie with 57 seconds left, and Alabama (17-14) rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half to beat South Carolina, 68-63.
Big 10 — Manny Harris had 22 points and nine rebounds to help Michigan defeat Iowa, 59-52, in the first round in Indianapolis. DeShawn Sims added 14 points for the Wolverines (15-16), who advanced to play No. 5 Ohio State today in the quarterfinals (10-22) . . . Devoe Joseph scored 15 points to help Minnesota (19-12) beat Penn State, 76-55 . . . Michael Thompson scored 11 of his 16 points during a late run, leading Northwestern (20-12) past Indiana, 73-58.
Pac 10 — Jeremy Green scored 18 points and Stanford surprised second-seeded Arizona State, 70-61, in the quarterfinals in Los Angeles. Arizona State (22-10) swept the Cardinal (14-17) during the regular season, but led just once — by 1 point early in the second half . . . Michael Roll scored 19 points, Reeves Nelson added 18, and UCLA held off Arizona, 75-69 . . . Jerome Randle scored 22 points without missing a shot in the first half, and top-seeded California easily advanced to the semifinals with a 90-74 victory over Oregon.
Conference USA — Jeremy Williams scored 17 points and No. 25 UTEP beat Central Florida, 76-54, in the quarterfinals for its 15th straight victory. The top-seeded Miners (25-5) face fifth-seeded Tulsa, the tournament’s host, in the semifinals.
Mid-American — Armon Bassett scored 38 points, making all 16 free throws, to lead Ohio past top-seeded Kent State, 81-64, in the quarterfinals in Cleveland. Ohio (19-14) lost to Kent State (23-9) twice in the regular season . . . Anthony Hitchens made a 3-pointer to open the second overtime and defending champion Akron held off Eastern Michigan, 97-89 . . . David Kool showed why he’s the MAC’s player of the year, scoring 24 of his 26 points in the second half to rally Western Michigan to a 69-60 win over Central Michigan . . . Kenny Hayes scored 27 points and Miami (14-17) beat Buffalo, 73-59.
Greg Young added 17 points for Roxbury, which meets Joliet (Ill.) Junior College in the semifinals tonight.