Big East Tournament semifinal field was finalized following Creighton's victory in quarterfinals. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
NEW YORK -- The final Big East Tournament quarterfinal matched Creighton up against Providence, a rematch of the 2014 championship game won by the Friars. In regular season competition, each team won on the opponent’s home floor. On a neutral site, something had to give.
Just before midnight Thursday at Madison Square Garden, the Bluejays walked away 70-58 winners, advancing to a semifinal meeting with Xavier on Friday. Creighton is now 24-8, while Providence fell to 20-12.
First five possessions:
Creighton: Field goal, missed field goal, field goal, turnover, field goal
Providence: Turnover, turnover, missed field goal, two free throws, one free throw
Creighton doubled Providence up by a 6-3 tally through the first 2:22. On the opening possession, the Bluejays went right inside to Big East Freshman of the Year Justin Patton on a set play, opening the pace on a more uptempo rate, which was not a good start for the Friars.
First half observations: Creighton usually runs set offense, but will get out on the break if it is there. Providence also operated in half court, alternating between a single or double-post offense. If you enjoy the moves and countermoves of a basketball chess match, this first half is made to order.
Halftime: Providence 30, Creighton 27
Possessions: Providence 35, Creighton 36
Offensive efficiency: Providence 80, Creighton 75
Second half observations: The first four minutes after the break were dominated by Creighton. The Bluejays went on a 10-0 run during that juncture to take a 37-30 lead into the 16-minute timeout. Creighton threatened to open it up, but Providence would not let them pull away. Turnovers remained a problem for the Friars, though, as Creighton was able to get in transition following the miscues. The half court offense prevalent in the first half gave way to transition. In some cases, a rebounder would start the break by pushing the ball up court on his own.
Creighton held a seven-point lead at the four-minute mark, definitely a tenuous cushion. With a nine-point lead and three minutes to play, head coach Greg McDermott urged his team to walk it up the floor and use some clock after gaining possession. On their own end, Providence did not help their cause, missing a succession of free throws down the stretch.
Possessions: Providence 76, Creighton 75
Offensive efficiency: Providence 76, Creighton 93
Effective field goal percentage: Providence 44, Creighton 46
Free throw rate: Providence 52, Creighton 61
Offensive rebound percentage: Providence 21, Creighton 23
Turnover rate: Providence 29, Creighton 19
Leading scorers and effectiveness factors:
Providence: Kyron Cartwright, 15 points (EF 21)
Creighton: Khyri Thomas, 19 points (EF 27)
What Providence did well: Get to the line at a good rate. Unfortunately for Ed Cooley, the Friars shot 14-of-26 at the stripe.
What Creighton did well: Force turnovers. Those errors of ball handling commission proved costly, as the Bluejays enjoyed a 26-8 edge in points off turnovers.
NOTES: Both teams were even at 24 for points in the paint. Freshman sensation Justin Patton of Creighton led all rebounders with eight points. Patton scored nine points, but made four of six field goal attempts. Cartwright’s efficiency was severely hampered by a game-high six turnovers, but the Big East’s Most Improved Player did lead all players with four assists.
Ball control index: Providence .590, Creighton 1.21
Providence shot a woeful 4-of-21 from beyond the arc, but Creighton was not much better at 4-of-20. A total of 49 fouls were whistled. The distribution was nearly equal, with 25 assessed to the Bluejays and 24 charged to the Friars.
Postgame Quotes (courtesy of ASAP Sports)