GAME NOTES: Fresh off a double-overtime road victory against Providence, the Seton Hall Pirates return home to face the Creighton Bluejays in Big East Conference action on Saturday.
Creighton is off to a hot start at 11-2, and has won six in a row, including a 67-49 home victory in the team's Big East opener against Marquette. The only two losses the Bluejays have suffered this season were to San Diego State and George Washington at the Wooden Legacy Tournament in Fullerton, Calif.
Seton Hall held a lead for most of the game against Providence Tuesday, and when the lead slipped away the Pirates battled in both overtime periods to escape with an 81-80 win on two clutch free throws.
Seton Hall leads the all-time series against Creighton 6-1, although these two programs have only met once in the last 62 years - a 1991 NCAA Tournament matchup in Sal Lake City. It will be the first Big East meeting between the two schools.
Creighton never trailed in the team's Big East opener against Marquette, winning easily, 67-49. All-American Doug McDermott was the leading scorer for the Bluejays with 19 points, and was followed by Jahenns Manigat with 16 and Ethan Wragge, who added 12. McDermott was 7-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc, and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in the win. Manigat had six rebounds and dished out a team-high six assists, adding a steal to his stat line. The Bluejays only attempted four free throws in the game and connected on all of them. The 49 points for Marquette is the lowest total Creighton has held an opponent to this season.
McDermott leads the way for the Bluejays in scoring, averaging 24.3 ppg, which is also good for second in the nation. McDermott is also a beast on the boards, averaging a team-high 7.3 rpg. He's followed in the scoring column by Wragge, who nets 12.4 ppg. Guard Austin Chatman leads the team with 56 assists this season. He dished out five assists and hauled in five rebounds against Marquette. McDermott shoots a healthy 48.8 percent from the floor this season with a 90.6 percent mark from the charity stripe.
Seton Hall's win over Providence marked the third victory in a row for the Pirates. Brian Oliver paced the Pirates' offensive attack, netting a team-high 18 points. Sterling Gibbs had 15 in the win, including two free-throws with 3.3 seconds remaining in the second overtime period that proved to be the clinching margin. Brandon Mobley and Patrik Auda rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Pirates with 16 and 11 points, respectively. Seton Hall was light in its lineup, too, as center Eugene Teague missed the game with a concussion.
Gibbs is the Pirates' leading scorer, averaging 15.8 ppg. Seton Hall is loaded with offensive talent, as six players on its roster average more than 10 points per contest. Gibbs, who leads the team in assists with 51, is followed by Fuquan Edwin, averaging 12.5 ppg. Oliver is right behind Edwin with a 12.1 ppg average. Teague, when healthy, is the team's leading rebounder, pulling down 9.4 rpg. Until he returns, it's Mobley next on the rebounding list with a 5.9 rpg clip.
Seton Hall and Creighton are two of the better teams in the conference. It will be a battle, but the Bluejays are playing just a little better.
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