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Bluejays beat Cartwright-less Friars 78-64

Bluejays improve to 15-1 overall and 3-1 in conference, Friars fall to 11-6 overall and 1-3 in conference.

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Providence Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Dunkin’ Jays get first win at the Dunk

In front of a sleepy crowd on a snowy Providence afternoon the Creighton Bluejays built a 10-0 lead to start off this affair. Ed Cooley promptly called a timeout to stymie the offensive blitz, yet it took until the 12:34 mark for Providence to get into double digit points.

At around the 10 minute mark Kyron Cartwright checked out of the game as the Providence trainers worked on his knee. I didn’t see exactly how he went down, as the broadcast sort of glanced over his absence, but he eventually checked back into the game with a rubber band wrapped around his knee.

He’d get back into the game and hobble around the hardwood for a little while until Cooley pulled him and sent him to the locker room.

Meanwhile, Providence would switch their gameplan from chucking up haphazard threes to driving to the bucket with relative ease. They poured in 7 unanswered points to bring the game to 17-14, which was quickly quelled by a Isaiah Zierden three.

The remainder of the half would round out this way; Creighton going on a run, Providence answering but not quite doing enough to take a lead, then succumbing to another Bluejay run.

Featured in this first half was the spectacular show of Justin Patton’s abilities as he scored 12 - eight of those points off dunks. Here’s a put-back slam he showed off:

Creighton’s offense started and ended on high notes. Khyri Thomas and Justin Patton combined for eight points to end the half - two of those dunks by Patton, including a lob from Khyri - and rolled into the half with a 39-33 lead.

Providence would start the second half on a 5-0 run to cut the lead to one but failed to capitalize on their run yet again. That seemed to be the overarching theme for the Friars today, though their young reserves in Alpha Diallo and Maliek White.

Another overarching theme in this ballgame was the referee’s rather poor performance in calling this one. There were more phantom fouls and travels than I’d seen in BIG EAST play so far this year. I’m usually not one to complain about these things but when there are poor calls disrupting the flow of the game it’s hard not to notice.

The absence of Kyron Cartwright was obvious when watching Maliek White attempt to play defense on Maurice Watson Jr. There were instances where Watson was able to navigate around the hardwood without much of an opposition, though the Friar defense tended to contract as he entered the paint, denying him entry to the basket.

Creighton’s dribble drive defense and relative inability to box out or get a rebound was paramount to Providence’s ability to hang around in this game far longer than they should have. Rodney Bullock wasn’t his usual self but Emmitt Holt was phenomenal in the paint.

There was a point in time in the second half where it appeared that Watson was also going to exit this game for good, stealing both point guards in what was hyped as a marquee match up between the two. Instead, it was rumored that Watson may have left the court, entered the tunnel, stuck around for a while, then came back and was seen drinking copious amounts of water. I’m no scientist or doctor or even a decent journalist, but it’s pretty easy to imagine the reportedly ill Watson went into the tunnel and dished an assist from his gut.

Call it Watson’s flu game.

Creighton’s lead grew to 12 at 70-58 with 4 minutes remaining as the scoring stalled for a while for both teams. The Jays proceeded to milk the clock - counter to their usual selves - and managed to proceed on a high offensive clip. Providence only scored 6 points in the final four minutes, leading to a pretty disappointing finish. Jays win 78-64.