Providence seeks breakthrough win vs. No. 25 Creighton (Dec 31, 2017)

BY AP • December 31, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. -- Providence hopes its recent run of success against No. 25 Creighton will continue when the teams meet Sunday in a Big East showdown.

Providence (10-4) has won seven of the 10 matchups between the teams since Creighton joined the conference. That record includes winning five of eight at CenturyLink Center, where Sunday's tip-off is set.

Providence certainly has momentum in its corner after rolling to a 94-72 victory on Thursday at St. Johns to open Big East play.

Creighton coach Greg McDermott said not many teams would have had a chance against Providence the way the Friars played against the Red Storm.

"Offensively, they may run more set plays than we do," McDermott said. "They shot the daylights out of the basketball at St. John's, made 11 out of 16 3s in the second half.

"I'm not sure if they're playing the Lakers if the Lakers are going to beat them on that night when you shoot it that well.

"We've got to get to some of those shooters and make sure they don't get in rhythm."

The Friars have been good all season from 3-point range. They are second in the Big East having made 108 of 263 3-point shots, or 41.1 percent.

In the win over St. John's, senior Kyron Cartwright had 21 points and 15 assists. Sophomore Alpha Diallo finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

The 94 points against St. John's was a record for points scored by an opponent in regulation at Carnesecca Arena.

Creighton (10-3) is looking to bounce back from a 90-84 loss Thursday at Seton Hall in its conference opener. The Bluejays not only had their five-game winning streak snapped, but they saw an early second-half lead of 13 points slowly dwindle before the No. 23 Pirates scored the final seven points of the game to improve to 12-2.

The Bluejays are 8-0 at home this season and have outscored their opponents 97.9-65.8 in those games. Senior guard Marcus Foster is averaging 19.1 points per game this season, and he is the nation's active leader in field goals made.

Junior guard Khyri Thomas not only is Creighton's top defender but he also leads the Bluejays with 38 assists. The 6-foot-3 Omaha native also is ranked as a first-round NBA draft choice in several mock drafts.

McDermott said it will take a solid effort on both sides of the ball to make sure the Bluejays avoid an 0-2 start to conference play.

"You have to be good at everything because they're always sound defensively," McDermott said. "(They) really try to pick on your weakness defensively, find where they think they have a mismatch and really try to exploit that. We have to try to cover that up the best we can."

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