Nate Watson and No. 16 Providence are looking to establish a new winning streak after a bounce-back effort when they visit Big East foe Creighton on Tuesday night.
Watson’s 22 points and 11 rebounds paced the Friars in their 83-73 triumph over St. John’s on Saturday.
The win was the 300th of longtime coach Ed Cooley’s career and kept Providence (14-2, 4-1 Big East) from its first losing streak of the season after an 88-56 rout at Marquette last Tuesday.
The setback snapped the Friars’ eight-game winning streak that helped them vault into the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
“Today was about how do we respond to a really, really hard game that we played at Marquette,” Cooley said after Saturday’s victory.
Jared Bynum scored 18 off the Friars’ bench while Justin Minaya and Al Durham contributed 13 points apiece. Providence was playing without third-leading scorer A.J. Reeves, who missed his second straight game with a finger injury.
“The biggest thing was to respond. That was our mindset,” Minaya said of the Marquette loss. “Going to college for four years, you realize there’s ups and downs in the season. Whatever happened today, nobody’s even talking about it in two days anyways.”
Creighton (10-4, 2-1) will be looking to shake off a tough loss at then-No. 19 Villanova last Wednesday. Alex O’Connell’s team-high 13 points paced the Bluejays in an ugly 75-41 setback to the Wildcats.
O’Connell was the only double-digit scorer for Creighton, which shot just 35.6 percent (16-of-45) from the field and only 12.5 percent (3-of-24) from 3-point range.
Bluejays leading scorer and rebounder Ryan Hawkins was held scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting and had five rebounds. The 41 points were a season low for the Creighton.
It was a particularly jarring result considering Creighton’s 79-59 rout of the then-ninth ranked Wildcats at home in the teams’ first meeting of the season on Dec. 17.
“They were so much better than us tonight,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said postgame. “We looked like a bunch of young kids tonight. We haven’t done that very often this year.”
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Bluejays but was their third defeat in the last six games.
Added McDermott, “You play so well (for stretches) and you wonder where did that team come from and how do I get those guys to that level every night. Then unfortunately there’s six or seven (games) where you wonder who’s in those uniforms.”
Providence leads the all-time series 17-12 versus Creighton. The teams split their two-game series last season, with each school earning a road victory.
Watson had 29 points, a career high at the time, in the Friars’ 74-70 victory over the Bluejays on Jan. 20, 2021. Creighton outlasted Providence 67-65 on Christian Bishop’s go-ahead dunk with 0.8 seconds remaining in the previous meeting on Jan. 2 of last year.
–Field Level Media