No. 17 Creighton out to extend recent dominance of Georgetown

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 12 Feb, 2024 at 07:15 PM

Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Since Georgetown carved up Creighton 73-48 in the Big East tournament championship game three years ago, the Bluejays have exacted revenge, winning all five of their matchups with the Hoyas by double digits.

Tuesday night in Omaha, Neb., when Georgetown (8-15, 1-11) faces No. 17 Creighton (17-7, 8-5) in a conference game, the struggling Hoyas will attempt to end the series slide along with their current eight-game losing streak.

After a promising 7-4 start, Georgetown has had an alarming regression, according to first-year coach Ed Cooley. His frustration was evident following an 89-64 home loss to No. 1 UConn on Saturday.

"I can't believe we were so listless, lifeless, not physical, not connected, not verbal, we didn't communicate. There's a lot of reflection that has to go on," Cooley said. "Everybody in our organization has to take a really deep dive into what our purpose is."

The most damning statement about the uninspired play of Georgetown came during a timeout huddle when a TV microphone picked up the words of UConn coach Dan Hurley.

"Against a defense of this caliber, it should all look easy," Hurley told his team.

Georgetown's defense, characterized as "atrocious" by Cooley, surrendered 61.1 percent field-goal shooting by UConn. The Hoyas were outscored in points in the paint 48-24.

"You got the No. 1 team in the country in your building, on national television," Cooley said. "I'm not saying we have to be the most talented team. But I'll be damned if you can't be the most hungry team, if you can't have effort, energy and enthusiasm."

Through much of last month, Jayden Epps was the top scorer in the Big East. But as opponents have focused on controlling Epps, the Hoyas have not found another scorer to lean on.

Over his last five games, Epps has made 9 of 43 shots from beyond the arc (20.9 percent).

"The point guard, the head coach and the best player can never have a bad day, and all three of us today were God-awful," Cooley said to a reporter. "I should have just stayed in bed and have you coach the team."

Creighton is coming off a 78-71 win at Xavier on Saturday as the Bluejays got 28 points and four blocked shots from Ryan Kalkbrenner. The 7-footer made 12 of 14 shots from the floor.

"Any time you win at Cintas (Center), it's a heck of a win, especially the way this Xavier team has been playing," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said.

Baylor Scheierman stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Steven Ashworth added 12 points and nine assists.

It was a nice rebound for Creighton, which avoided its first three-game losing streak against Big East competition since 2019.

Over the previous eight days, the Bluejays had fallen at home to Butler 99-98 and lost at Providence in overtime 91-87.

Creighton started slowly on Saturday, missing its first eight 3-point attempts. But the Bluejays rallied late in the first half, turning a nine-point deficit into a nine-point lead at the break with Mason Miller draining a pair of triples.

"We're getting closer to March, so games like this are important for your resume," McDermott said.

--Field Level Media