Tue, 29 Sep 2020

No. 25 Creighton aims to bounce back vs. Providence

Field Level Media
18 Jan 2020, 06:55 GMT+10

Creighton's two-year hike back into the national rankings was greeted with a thud, and now the Bluejays will try to rebound Saturday at home against Providence.

Creighton (13-5, 2-3) took its No. 25 ranking into Washingto, D.C., on Wednesday night and left with an 83-80 defeat to Georgetown. It was the Bluejays' third defeat in Big East Conference play but the first against an unranked team.

Lack of interior size proved costly as Georgetown big man Omer Yurtseven scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Providence is not as imposing inside, though 6-foot-10 center Nate Watson does average 9.4 points and 4.3 rebounds.

Creighton's Marcus Zegarowski scored 20 points Wednesday and went six of 11 from 3-point range, while Ty-Shon Alexander scored 14 points and became the 42nd player in Bluejays history to pass the 1,000-point milestone.

But Mitch Ballock didn't make his first basket until 3:49 remained in the game. He finished with just six points after entering with 12.3 points per game.

"We just had a hard time stopping them," Creighton head coach Greg McDermott said one game after recording his 500th career victory. "We've been defending relatively well in league play, holding almost everybody we played below 40 percent, and (Wednesday) Georgetown shot over 50."

Indeed, the Hoyas shot 51.7 percent, while also hitting five of 15 3-pointers. Creighton shot 43.1 percent, but now the Bluejays return home where they are 10-1 on the season.

Creighton is 113-44 all-time when playing as a ranked team and can add to that win total Saturday. Yet, no matter how convincing they might be against Providence, their current run as a ranked team is expected to end.

The Friars (11-7, 4-1) have managed to turn around their fortunes just as conference play arrived. After struggling through nonconference play, with some inconsistent performances from team leader Alpha Diallo, Providence has won five of its last six games starting with a 70-48 victory over Texas on Dec. 21.

The Friars' only defeat in that stretch was a 70-58 home loss to No. 6 Butler.

Diallo has averaged 14.3 points and had another off night when he scored just four points on Jan. 4 against DePaul while shooting one of five from the field. But he has averaged 17.3 points in the three games since, including scoring 19 against St. John's on Wednesday.

"We talked about holding court at home," Providence head coach Ed Cooley said his team won despite shooting just 35.6 percent overall and 23.5 percent from 3-point range. "We had to try to secure a win before this two-game road trip coming up."

After Saturday's visit to Creighton, Providence likely will have another game against a ranked team when they play at No. 18 Seton Hall. Then comes a home date on Jan. 25 against a ranked Villanova team.

The Friars are 2-2 in true road games and 3-5 in games outside of their own building this season.

--Field Level Media

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