The Providence Friars picked up their first Big East season opener victory since 2008 as they defeated the Creighton Bluejays by the score of 65-53.
LaDontae Henton's 35 points was the most outstanding performance of the entire night as he was nearly unstoppable on the floor in the Dunkin Donuts Center. Henton shot 12-for-21 from the field and 8-for-9 from the free throw line, making sure to pick up his gimmes when he had them in front of them. The forward also added eight rebounds to his total, picking up four on both the offensive and defensive ends.
One of the key statistics in this matchup was the stark contrast in transition. Providence tallied 16 points on fast breaks while the Bluejays, conversely, had just three.
Here are three things we learned from this game:
1. The Bluejays could be in for a world of hurt in Big East play
You don't want to overreact after just one game, but Creighton's performance was concerning to say the least. As noted, they were beat down in transition and couldn't get it going on their own. They could not get it going on the road -- shooting just 37 percent and 25 percent from the perimeter. They committed 13 turnovers and were outrebounded and were edged out in points in the paint. One positive to take out of this was that their bench greatly outscored the Friars' -- to the tune of 26-5 -- but with the fact that CU led for just 23 seconds in the entire game, this was not a great look at all.
2. LaDontae Henton is likely to be the strongest challenger to D'Angelo Harrison and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera for Big East Player of the Year
No disrespect to anyone else in the race right now, but in my opinion it's these three players who hold the edge as we head into conference season. D'Angelo Harrison performed very well on Wednesday afternoon with a 25-point outing in Newark, but Henton one-upped him with a 35-point night. As the conference's leading scorer, LaDontae Henton's successes may only be getting started. And it could be a very fun thing to watch going forward.
3. The Friars bench got both bludgeoned and bailed out -- at least in points scored
With LaDontae Henton's 35-point performance out of the way, it's also important to note that the Friars' next leading scorer was Jalen Lindsey who had just eight points on the night. Two others -- Ben Bentil and Tyler Harris -- had five apiece and Kris Dunn, perhaps surprisingly, scored just six points. That said, Dunn did contribute in many other areas with 12 assists and eight rebounds. But what's interesting is that despite the fact that the bench got beat up by the Bluejays 26-5, and three players -- Paschal Chukwu, Ted Bancroft, and Kyron Cartwright -- went scoreless, they were bailed out by Henton's terrific night. Whether or not this continues will be something to watch, but this was a terrific set of circumstances for PC all things considered even when their depth guys could not get it going.