No. 11 Creighton looks to avoid second loss to Georgetown

NCAA Basketball
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One of the nation’s hottest teams for more than a month, Creighton must respond from what it hopes was just a humbling bump in the road.

The 11th-ranked Bluejays look to rebound from their second-worst loss of the season while trying to avenge an earlier loss to Georgetown when the two teams meet Wednesday night in the Big East battle in Omaha, Neb.

Entering last weekend with a five-game winning streak having won nine of its past 10 games, Creighton (22-7, 11-5 in Big East) essentially controlled its own destiny toward a conference title. That’s no longer the case following Sunday’s stunning 91-71 loss at ninth-place St. John’s.

The Bluejays rank among the nation’s leaders in 3-point shooting, but they went a season-worst 4 of 27 (14.8 percent) on Sunday, while the poor-shooting Red Storm hit 14 of 22 from beyond the arc.

Damien Jefferson matched a career high with 20 points, and leading scorer Ty-Shon Alexander (16.9 points per game) finished with 19 for Creighton, which sits tied for second in the Big East — two games behind leader Seton Hall.

“I felt all year long the bottom of the league is what’s changed the most. The strength 1 to 10 is really, really good,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said in Sunday’s postgame press conference.

“You have to be ready and on point every time you play or you’re going to get beat. … You hope those experiences will do us good when we get (deep) into March.”

Creighton could have learned that lesson on Jan. 15 following an 83-80 loss at Georgetown (15-14, 5-11 in Big East), which unfolded somewhat like the loss to St. John’s. The Bluejays hit 13 3-pointers in that game, but the host Hoyas shot 51.7 percent and held a 41-29 advantage on the glass to give coach Patrick Ewing his first victory in five tries in this series.

The Bluejays, though, will be at home, where they are 15-1 this season and have won four in a row over Georgetown by an average of 12.8 points.

Alexander scored 26 at Georgetown in January 2019, but posted 14 in each of his past two games against them. Teammate Marcus Zegarowski (15.8 ppg) shot 1 of 10 from the field and finished with five points at St. John’s, but scored 20 at Georgetown in January.

Since that victory over Creighton, the Hoyas have lost eight of 11. They shot 36.8 percent, committed 20 turnovers and fell victim to a late-second 3-pointer in losing their fourth in a row, 66-63 at home to Xavier on Sunday.

“I thought our guys played hard,” Ewing, whose team is shooting 38.6 percent and averaging 14.5 turnovers over the last four games, told the school’s official website. “They didn’t give up, they kept fighting.”

Georgetown again played without its top two scorers in 7-footer Omer Yurtseven (15.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg) and guard Mac McClung (15.7 ppg). Their availability for Wednesday remains uncertain due to injuries. Yurtseven (ankle) had 20 points and 13 rebounds against Creighton this season, while McClung (foot) scored 19 points.

Teammate Jahvon Blair (10.6 ppg) scored 12 against the Bluejays and 18 on Sunday. He has averaged 18.4 points in his past eight contests.

–Field Level Media

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