It was another nail biter between Providence and #11 Creighton at Alumni Hall. The Friars finished the game on a 17-6 run, but it was not enough to pull off the upset.
Freshman Alyn Breed forced a turnover on Creighton’s inbounds pass with 15 seconds remaining to give Providence a chance to tie the game late. Noah Horchler hit a layup to even the score at 65, but Christian Bishop got the last word. His slam dunk in the final second gave the Bluejays the win in a dramatic sequence.
WE HAVE ON A DUNK!!!— #BIGEASThoops (@BIGEASTMBB) January 2, 2021
Christian Bishop delivers for @BluejayMBB! #BIGEASThoops, man pic.twitter.com/ar0WdEhexQ
Providence set the tone early, building a 22-15 lead with under ten minutes to play in the first half. Greg Gantt, A.J. Reeves, and Noah Horchler all hit three-pointers in a 13-6 Friars run. Creighton would answer with conviction, responding with an 18-2 run off Mitch Ballock’s hot hand. His three field goals from beyond the arc would put Creighton ahead by nine, a lead they would not relinquish. Ballock added another shot from nearly half court at the end of the first half, and the Bluejays led the Friars 40-32 at the break.
Mitch Ballock could hit a shot from Mars and it wouldn't surprise us. #BIGEASThoops pic.twitter.com/lK5kLytOJl— #BIGEASThoops (@BIGEASTMBB) January 2, 2021
Creighton would keep Providence at arm’s length for most of the second half. Both teams struggled to score for most of the period, with each team turning the ball over six times and neither side shooting more than 36 percent from the field. Creighton held a 61-48 lead with 7:14 to play when the Friars came surging back.
Creighton played tough in the paint, out scoring the Friars 28-22 and collecting ten offensive rebounds. The Bluejays also outshot Providence, hitting over 42 percent of their shots to under 34 percent for the Friars. Free throws were an issue for Creighton, however. They went 5-10 from the line on the day and missed their last three.
Marcus Zegarowski led the way for Greg McDermott’s squad, with 20 points while adding 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Damien Jefferson had 18 points and led the Bluejays with 8 rebounds. Mitch Ballock scored 14 points and went 4-9 from beyond the arc.
David Duke and Nate Watson both scored 13 for Providence, with each having scored in double-figures in every game this season. Noah Horchler added a season-high 12 points off the bench, and A.J. Reeves finished with 10 points. Watson led the team with 8 rebounds, while Duke had 4 assists. Starting point guard Jared Bynum left the game due to injury in the first half.
Providence has the week off before traveling to play at Xavier next Sunday. Creighton returns home to take on Seton Hall on Wednesday.