St. John’s-Creighton Preview
If there were any questions to how Creighton would respond to playing in the Big East, its performance on the court has provided some resounding answers.
The No. 20 Bluejays can solidify their spot atop the conference standings when they host St. John’s on Tuesday night.
Led by forward Doug McDermott, who is second in the nation with 24.3 points per game, Creighton (17-3, 7-1) has encountered very few bumps in the road during its first season in the Big East. The team is 11-0 at home and is outscoring opponents by an average of 16.2 points in four conference games there.
The Bluejays have won 13 straight and 50 of 54 on their own court.
"It feels great. Wins aren’t easy to come by in conference play, so to say that we are 7-1 – we would have taken that at the start of the year," McDermott said. "But this team does a great job not dwelling on past games. We’re going to flip the page and move right on to St. John’s."
McDermott recorded his fourth double-double Saturday despite his second-worst shooting performance of the season, scoring 14 points while hitting 5 of 15 shots and grabbing 10 rebounds in a 76-63 victory over Georgetown.
However, the senior isn’t doing it all by himself. Guard Ethan Wragge has totaled 39 points over the last two games, making 60.0 percent of his field goals – all 3-point attempts – and was named the conference’s player of the week. Against the Hoyas, six players scored nine points or more.
The balanced Bluejays attack will be challenged by one of the league’s strongest defensive teams. Opponents shoot just 40.4 percent against St. John’s, though the Red Storm (12-8, 2-5) haven’t been quite as strong in conference play with Big East foes making 43.4 percent of their shots.
St. John’s limited Butler to 12.5 percent shooting from 3-point range and outrebounded the Bulldogs 35-21 on Saturday in a 69-52 road win. Sophomore forward Jakarr Sampson led the way with 20 points and seven rebounds.
The Red Storm have won three consecutive games but are still looking for their first marquee victory of the season. They have lost three times against ranked opponents by an average of 7.7 points.
An issue for the team in those three games was outside shooting, as St. John’s made 5 of 39 3-point attempts (12.8 percent) and shot 39.8 percent overall.
The Red Storm have lost eight straight against teams in the Top 25. Their last road victory against a ranked opponent was 53-52 over No. 14 Cincinnati on Jan. 5, 2013.
St. John’s holds a 5-2 series lead against the Bluejays, with the teams last meeting Dec. 22, 1971.