Inside the confines of "The World's Most Famous Arena" the No. 12 Creighton Bluejays took on the suddenly surging St. John's Red Storm. What ensued after the opening tip was nothing short of surprising.
The Johnnies packed a punch, delivering deft blow after deft blow as they limited one of the top offenses in the country to just 65 points. They carved their way through the Bluejay defense like a hot knife through butter for most of the 1st half. The 2nd half saw both teams play close, but in the end, it was the Red Storm who towered over all inside Madison Square Garden. Steve Lavin's club picked up a much-needed signature win over Creighton to the tune of 70-65.
In all, the Red Storm learned their lesson from their first encounter. Instead of letting the sensational Doug McDermott go off, sophomore forward JaKarr Sampson & Co. suffocated him in the final frame. So much so that for the final 8:41 of the ball game, the Ames native was held without a single point.
Offensively, St. John's was inefficient, but the Bluejays seemingly had no answer for them despite these inefficiencies. Junior guard D'Angelo Harrison led the way with 19 points, with sophomore center Chris Obekpa joining him in double figures with 11 on an impressive 71.4 FG%.
This win for St. John's is as big as it gets. They were already riding high going into this game, having won five of six, with the only defeat coming at the hands of the Bluejays out in Omaha. Now with a victory in this rematch, the Red Storm are certainly storming down the stretch in BIG EAST play. With their three upcoming matchups with struggling Seton Hall, Georgetown and Butler, the Johnnies have more opportunities to continue on this primrose path, possibly to the NCAA Tournament if they are lucky.
For Creighton, this loss has to leave a sour taste in their mouths. They may have only lost by five points, but the difference maker in this game may have been their poor performance at the free throw line. The Bluejays shot just 56.0 percent from the stripe on 25 attempts, an uncharacteristic mark for a team who came in shooting an average of 75.9 percent. For context, that mark is ninth best in the country.
Both the Bluejays and Johnnies have time to regroup, as neither team plays until Thursday night. Creighton travels to Indianapolis to take on Butler, while St. John's travels to The Garden State to take on Seton Hall.