Important game in the Big East on Wednesday night as second-place and 17th-ranked Creighton visits third-place Seton Hall with both trying to catch Villanova atop the standings. The Pirates will be favored for this one on the NCAAB odds.
These teams met on Jan. 6 in Omaha and Creighton rolled 89-53. It was coach Kevin Willard’s most lopsided defeat in his 11 seasons at Seton Hall. Damien Jefferson had 19 points, Denzel Mahoney had 14 points and Marcus Zegarowski added 11 for the Bluejays, who shot 59.6% overall and 54.2% on 3-pointers, both season highs. The Bluejays made their first seven shots and led 17-4 less than five minutes in. Jefferson started 7 for 8 from the field, and his 3-pointer gave Creighton its biggest lead of the first half, 32-19. Sandro Mamukelashvili led the Pirates with 14 points and Jared Rhoden had 10. Their 33% shooting from the field was their worst of the season, and their 16.7% accuracy on 3s (3 of 18) was a season low.
Why Bet on Creighton? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis
Creighton (11-4) ended a two-game slide with a 74-66 win over No. 23 UConn on Saturday. Creighton, which came into the game 10 of its last 46 on 3s, missed its first five shots from distance and finished just 6 of 20. They shot 58% from the field in the second half and avoided their first three-game losing streak since February 2019.
“We couldn’t guard them in the second half and they kind of torched us,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “We competed hard and we were all over the backboard. Just had a hard time scoring. When they’re cooking, they’re one of the best offensive teams in the country.”
Creighton was led by 20 points from Denzel Mahoney, while Marcus Zegarowski added 15. UConn was led by 14 points from RJ Cole. The Huskies owned a 42-27 edge on the glass but converted 18 offensive rebounds into just 12 second-chance points.
Creighton made 16-of-22 shots in the paint, while UConn made just 11-of-28 shots from the paint. Creighton is now 30-3 in its last 33 home games. The Bluejays became the first Big East team to beat UConn multiple times in the same season since Syracuse went 3-0 against the Huskies in 2011-12.
Creighton has now beaten multiple top-25 teams in each of the last seven seasons. Creighton is 18-16 since the start of the 2016-17 season vs. ranked teams. Those 18 wins are 15th-most nationally.
Zegarowski was one of 10 candidates announced Monday by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the 2021 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award. The junior leads Creighton with 4.5 assists per game and is second on the team with 14.4 points per contest. His 36 three-pointers are one shy of the Big East lead.
CU’s only four losses have come by a combined 14 points, with each coming by five points or less. Creighton leads the Big East with 80.6 points per game and is also tops in field goal percentage (.491) and field goal percentage defense (.397).
Why Bet on Seton Hall? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis
The Pirates haven’t played since a Jan. 19 76-74 loss at No. 3 Villanova. Cole Swider hit the winning free throw with 1.9 seconds left. Seton Hall’s last-gasp desperation pass was bobbled out of bounds by Sandro Mamukelashvili. The 6-foot-11 Mamukelashvili had an open look and could have dunked the go-ahead bucket with a clean catch.
“Disappointment, anger. I was right there and it didn’t work out, but it happens,” Mamukelashvili said after. “I can’t really explain it because I’m feeling a lot of emotions right now.”
Mamukelashvili scored a game-high 23 points and added nine rebounds and five assists. Jared Rhoden had a huge first half and finished with 19 points. The Pirates edged out the Wildcats in rebounding, 29-27, and in paint points, 36-30. The Pirates had 17 assists on their 29 made field goals and committed only 13 turnovers. Villanova was slightly more efficient with 15 assists on 26 made field goals and only nine turnovers.
Graduate senior Bryce Aiken returned sooner than expected from his latest ankle injury, but was held scoreless in 10 minutes. Aiken reinjured his ankle Jan. 6 at Creighton and has appeared in just eight contests this year after transferring from Harvard.
Despite the loss, the Pirates have still won eight of their last 11. Mamukelashvili moved up to 52nd all-time in Seton Hall scoring history and now stands at 903 career points. Myles Cale moved up to 61st all-time and now stands at 847 career points.
Seton Hall leads the all-time series with Creighton 14-9, including a 9-4 advantage in Newark. Three of the last 15 meetings at all sites have been one-point contests, including the 2014 and 2015 matchups in Omaha.
- Seton Hall 75, Creighton 74
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