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Big East Report 2/26/24

By Matt Hill

Creighton 85, UCONN 66

For well over a month UCONN looked by far the best team in the nation and most likely it still is.

However, for one night Creighton probably would not have been beaten by anybody in the country and they fed off the home crowd at Chi Health Civic Center to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the year.

It is hard to call this an upset because of the talent that Creighton has. The Blue Jays have two of the best players in the country in Baylor Scheierman and Ryan Kalkbrenner.


They delivered on this night with Kalkbrenner netting 15 points and Scheierman finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists.


This night though belonged to Steven Ashworth and Trey Alexander, Ashworth had 20 points and seven rebounds and Alexander finished with 16 points.


It was a great all-around effort for Creighton, but the biggest moment of the game might have happened in the first two minutes when Donovan Clingan picked up his second foul and had to sit most of the first half.

UCONN was ahead 7-0 about the time Clingan received his second foul and after that it was all Blue Jays.

With Kalkbrenner dominating inside it opened things up for Ashworth who was on fire in this one. His three gave the Jays a 29-23 lead with 6:48 to go in the first half.

Ashworth continued his strong shooting and another three by him put Creighton ahead 34-25 with 4:28 left before halftime.


Creighton extended its advantage to 43-29 at the half. The question was would the Jays continue this pace in the second half.


UCONN did briefly rally and cut the Jays lead to 74-64, but then Creighton hit five-straight free throws to go ahead 79-64 and held the Huskies to two points in the final four minutes.


Creighton took home the win and even though UCONN will still be the heavy favorite in the Big East Tournament, the Jays have given UCONN something to think about going into the postseason.


One of the hardest things to do in college basketball is win on the road in the Big East and this was only the Huskies second road conference defeat. UCONN is still the team to beat in the Big East and the favorite to win it all.


Creighton, meanwhile, showed it has the talent to go far in March. They have four strong players that can lead the team in scoring each night. When they are all playing well, the country better be on notice.


Tristen Newton was outstanding in defeat, netting 27 points and 12 rebounds.


WEEKEND GAMES 

St, John's 80, Creighton 66

Well, Creighton's glory was short lived as a very hungry St. John's team survived a 31-point Creighton outburst from Trey Alexander and took the victory over the Blue Jays in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. 


St. John's raced out to a 22-12 lead in this one and was never seriously threatened though it was close throughout most of the game.


Alexander had a huge game for Creighton, but all the other big guns, Scheierman, Kalkbrenner and Ashworth were all held in check. 

St. John's, meanwhile, had a huge day from Daniss Jenkins, who finished with 27 points and six assists. Jordan Dingle had 18 for St. John's.


We will have more on the St. John's situation and the Pitino press conference in our Big East Tournament preview that will run the week of March 11th.


UCONN 78, Villanova 54

Cam Spencer finished with 25 points and Tristen Newton broke the UCONN record for most career triple doubles as the Huskies blasted the Wildcats.


Newton finished 10 points, 10 assists and 16 rebounds in a herculean effort for UCONN.

The win erased memories of Tuesday's beatdown UCONN suffered against Creighton. This was vintage UCONN and the Huskies played lights out in this one.


Vilanova went on a 7-0 tear early in the second half to cut UCONN's edge to five at 38-33. From that point on, UCONN outscored Villanova 40-21.


Eric Dixon topped Villanova with 20 points and eight rebounds.


Seton Hall 76, Butler 64

The Pirates took a big step in securing an at-large NCAA Tournament bid with a huge win over fellow bubble squad Butler.


Seton Hall improved to 18-9 overall and now has put itself in a great position to earn an at-large bid into the tournament.


Dre Davis topped Seton Hall with 21 points and seven rebounds while Kadary Richmond had 20 points for the Pirates. Jalen Thomas had 12 points to lead Butler.


Georgetown 77, DePaul 76

Sometimes when you get two very struggling teams together, it produces a great game and that is what happened here.


Georgetown improved to 9-18 overall and 2-14 in the Big East while DePaul is now 3-24, 0-16 in the Big East, but the two teams played a dandy that went down to the wire.


Georgetown led 41-28 at the half but DePaul outscored the Hoyas 48-36 in the second half.

Jayden Epps had 33 points to lead Georgetown with Supreme Cook having 11 rebounds.


DePaul had three players tie for the lead in scoring with Elijah Fisher, Da'Sean Nelson and Jalen Terry netting 16 points.


Marquette 88, Xavier 64

Kam Jones had a monster night with 34 points while Tyler Kolek finished with 10 assists.


On a night the 1974 National runner-up team at Marquette was honored, Marquette looked like it was going to contend for the Final Four themselves with a sensational performance in Milwaukee.

Trey Green had 16 to lead Xavier.


WEEKDAY GAMES

Villanova 72, Butler 62

As the Big East dominated the NCAA Tournament bubble, the conference produced another head scratcher on Tuesday night as Villanova continues to stay in contention and gets over .500  in conference play at 8-7 with a 72-62 victory over Butler.


Eric Dixon topped the Cats with 22 points. Jahmyl Telfort had 19 to lead the Bulldogs.


St. John's 90, Georgetown 85

Amid the controversy of the Rick Pitino Seton Hall game press conference last Sunday, the Red Storm looked very lackluster against the Hoyas.


St. John's was in a tight one throughout against a Georgetown program that had plenty of struggles going on as well.


Jordan Dingle had 22 points to top the Red Storm with Joel Soriano adding 10 rebounds.

Georgetown's Jordan Epps had a career night, finishing with 31 points.


Marquette 105, DePaul 71

The Golden Eagles led 59-29 at halftime and never looked back in a domination over struggling DePaul.


DePaul had four players in double figures with Elijah Fisher and Jaden Henley netting 19, but Marquette was very strong offensively in this one and was never threatened.


It was a huge night for Kam Jones with 34 points. One stat of note, Big East Player of the Year candidate Tyler Kolek only attempted two shots on the night but had 18 assists. 


Providence 79, Xavier 75

The Musketeers led 38-33 at the half but the Friars bounced back to take the win.

Devin Carter had 22 points for the Friars along with 11 rebounds. Desmond Claude also had 22 points for Xavier. 

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