GAME NOTES: The 20th-ranked Creighton Bluejays continue their first run through the Big East, as they invade the Dunkin' Donuts Center to take on the Providence Friars on Saturday night.
Greg McDermott's Bluejays are an impressive 15-2 overall, including a flawless 5-0 in Big East play. Creighton enters this game with a 10-game win streak after crushing Butler on Tuesday, 88-60. The Bluejays are also perfect in true road games this year (4-0).
Ed Cooley's Friars are 12-5 on the season, but just 2-2 in league play. The team opened Big East action with losses to Seton Hall and Villanova, but have battled back to .500 with wins over Georgetown (70-52) and most recently, St. John's (84-83 2OT).
This is the 11th meeting in a series that dates back to 1961. Providence holds a 6-4 advantage, but the squads haven't squared off since 2000.
All-American Doug McDermott has made a smooth transition to his new conference, being tabbed the Big East Player of the Week five times already. The veteran forward is well on his way to All-American status again, averaging team-highs of 25.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Ethan Wragge is the only other Bluejay averaging double figures in the scoring column at 11.9 ppg. Creighton is an efficient offensive squad, shooting just under 50 percent from the floor overall (.491), leading to a hefty 82.6 ppg.
McDermott as at it again in the lopsided win over Butler, hitting 11-of-19 shots from the floor to lead all scorers with 28 points. Austin Chapman added 10 points, while Devin Brooks came off the bench to chip in nine. Creighton put this game away early on, shooting a sizzling .677 from the floor in the first half and taking a 29-point lead at the break (53-24).
Providence doesn't play with the same type of offensive efficiency as Creighton, although the team has a few more consistent options at that end of the floor. The Friars are averaging 72.5 ppg, but doing so on a modest .410 shooting. Bryce Cotton fills up the basket to the tune of 20.2 ppg, while doling out a team-high 5.8 apg, but shoots just .401 from the floor. Tyler Harris is second in the scoring column at 13.4 ppg. Kadeem Batts (12.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and LaDontae Henton (12.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg) are a formidable frontcourt duo.
Providence won a marathon game with St. John's this week, thanks to a layup from Cotton with nine seconds left in the second extra session. Cotton flirted with the triple-double, posting 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the win. Harris finished with 18 points, while Batts and Henton posted identical marks with 17 points and nine rebounds each.
The Friars have the playmakers to end Creighton's run, but the ultimate playmaker resides on the Bluejays' roster. McDermott should once again lead the way and keep Creighton's perfect league slate intact.
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