Head coach Greg McDermott addresses media following Creighton's hard-fought loss at Seton Hall. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
NEWARK, NJ - Creighton entered the Prudential Center with a 21-4 record, the only losses coming at the hands of Big East competition. The Bluejays defeated Seton Hall 89-75 in late December in Omaha. Tonight, they are a different team, now without the services of lead guard Maurice Watson Jr., sidelined with a season-ending ACL injury.
On this evening, Seton Hall turned the tables with a resounding 87-81 victory over the 20th-ranked Bluejays. The win, following a disappointing loss to St. John’s on Saturday, kept the Pirates’ NCAA Tournament conversation going. Seton Hall is now 6-7 in the Big East and 16-9 overall. Creighton is 21-5 and 8-5 in the Big East.
The Bluejays, in Big East play, showed an impressive 112 offensive efficiency and 103 on the defensive side. The defensive number is a bit high. Given the plus-nine efficiency margin, that is not a problem to be overly concerned over. Interestingly, Creighton scores 30 percent of their points from long range and 56 percent inside the arc. Greg McDermott’s attack will strike fast. The Bluejays spend 15 seconds per possession, fastest in the Big East. On the defensive side, their opposition uses 18 seconds a trip, tenth in conference. A 71-possession per game team, Creighton will strike fast and force you to use a little clock on the opposite end.
A matchup problem for Seton Hall is Justin Patton. The seven-foot freshman center averages 13.6 points per game and is shooting 70 percent from the field. Patton uses 21 percent of Creighton’s possessions per KenPom, and leads the team with an offensive rating of 121.6.
First five possessions:
Creighton: Missed FG, three-point FG, three-point FG, turnover, field goal
Seton Hall: Field goal, missed FG, three-point FG, missed FG, three-point FG
As noted in the pregame scouting report, Creighton is quick to attack, while Seton Hall is forced to use a number of passes each possession to get their best shot. At any rate, it would be interesting to see the effect Patton had in the first half. Creighton built an early seven-point lead. While Patton got a rest, the Hall came storming back and eventually took the lead.
Desi Rodriguez is a matchup problem for Doug McDermott. The Pirate junior was hitting from the outside and attacking the basket on dribble penetration with equal abandon.
Seton Hall led 41-40 at the half. In a 37-possession half, the Hall posted a 114 efficiency to the 105 of Creighton. Given those numbers and the first half overall, Creighton was fortunate to be down only one at intermission. A priority of discussion in Greg McDermott’s talk had to be slowing down Khadeen Carrington. The Pirates’ junior guard blistered the Blue Jays for 19 first half points, including three three-pointers.
The first four minutes of the second half saw Creighton outscore Seton Hall 11-4 to take a six-point lead into the 16-minute timeout. Following some of their first half struggles, a good start to open the half was imperative for Creighton. After the Bluejays’ start to build that short lead, Seton Hall quickly responded. As the half progressed, the feeling was that this would go down to the wire.
Carrington still remained a problem for Creighton. In one sequence, he grabbed an offensive board, brought the ball up, saw daylight and penetrated for a bucket. On the Seton Hall side, Kevin Willard’s club was having problems of their own stopping Creighton junior guard Marcus Foster.
Angel Delgado has been a beast inside for the Pirates, especially in crunch time. The junior finished with 17 points (scoring his 1,000th career point) and 17 rebounds. The latter frequently resulted in second chance conversions and/or extending Seton Hall possessions. Delgado actually outrebounded Creighton offensively, as the Bluejays had seven caroms off the offensive glass. McDermott noted rebounding was a priority, and in the final ten minutes, his club could no longer stay with the Hall in that area of the game, a huge factor in the final outcome. Foster led Creighton with 23 points and six assists against only two turnovers. Patton added 15 for the Bluejays.
Possessions: Creighton 76, Seton Hall 73
Offensive efficiency: Creighton 107, Seton Hall 119
eFG percentage: Creighton 54, Seton Hall 58
Free throw rate: Creighton 20, Seton Hall 77
Offensive rebound percentage: Creighton 19, Seton Hall 40
Turnover rate: Creighton 15, Seton Hall 21
Seton Hall shot 28-of-39 to the line to 10-of-13 of Creighton. McDermott did not dwell on it, but noted his team came in as one of the best at not committing fouls, yet were whistled for 25 on this night.
Khadeen Carrington by the numbers:
Three-point FG: 3-5
Effectiveness Factor: 56
EF per minute: 1.47 (superstar on the Linton model)
NBA efficiency: 47
NBA formula per minute: 1.24