DePaul Blue Demons vs. Creighton Bluejays – Sunday, January 17th, Noon Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Television – Fox Sports 1
Radio – WYLL AM 1160
Creighton is coming off a season where they finished in last place of the Big East conference.
This season, it’s safe to say that the Bluejays have improved. Standing with a record of 12-6 and 3-2 record in Big East conference play, Creighton is playing better this year.
The number one reason that Creighton is better is the addition of guard Mo Watson. Watson transferred from Boston University and after sitting out a year has made an impact on this Bluejays team.
Watson is averaging 13.5 points per game and is dishing out 6.5 assists per game.
“He’s transformed that team in one short year,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said of Watson on WSCR Radio. “He put them in the forefront of some of the really good teams in this league. He’s their leading scorer. He’s got an over 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. When you watch him on film, he’s a guy that really, really controls the basketball game from the point guard position. He’s going to cause a lot of headaches in terms of keeping the ball in front of us and making sure we clear out a crowd around him. When you do that, he’s been able to distribute at a high level to the many shooters that they have.”
Creighton has balanced scoring with four players averaging in double-figures right now. They are unselfish and dish out 16.6 assists per game.
Senior big man Geoffrey Groselle is throwing down 12.1 ppg and grabs 6.2 rebounds per game.
Junior guard Isaiah Zierden averages 11.3 ppg and Cole Huff contributes 10 ppg.
Creighton is coming off a heartbreaking loss at home where Providence’s Kris Dunn defeated the Bluejays with a shot at the buzzer.
The Bluejays score at a high rate and are averaging 83.1 ppg which is the second highest for Big East teams. They are also tops in the league in three point field goal percentage and three pointers made.
“They’re a high scoring team, so we have to limit their fast break baskets,” Leitao said on WSCR Radio. “We’ve got to attack the painted area in both the half court and the full court. It’s going to come down to a battle of who’s going to defend the other’s offense the best.”
If you’re looking for a weakness to exploit it’s that Creighton is not a very good defensive team. The Bluejays are last in the Big East in defensive field goal percentage at 44.3%.
The Last Time
On March 11, 2015, Creighton ended DePaul’s season by eliminating the Blue Demons from the Big East tournament in a 78-63 defeat.
Creighton went on a decisive 26-10 run midway through the second half that would effectively put away DePaul. Creighton relentlessly attacked the hoop all game and scored 32 points in the paint (to DePaul's 18) while also making 21 of 30 free throws; DePaul's meanwhile shot 8-16 from the line.
DePaul had no match for Creighton's James Milliken, who scored a game-high 22 points. He came out guns blazing and shot 8-14 from the field and 3-6 from three point range. Senior center Will Artino also played a key part in the paint with eight points and nine rebounds.
DePaul was led by Jamee Crockett's 15 points in his final game as a Blue Demon.
The Demons also got double-digit performances from Myke Henry (10 points, while also leading the team in rebounding with nine boards), Billy Garrett Jr. (10 points to go along with a team-high eight assists) and Tommy Hamilton (11 points).
NO. NAME POS. HT. WT. YR. HOMETOWN / HIGH SCHOOL
0 Justin Patton C 6-11 215 Fr. Omaha, Neb. / North
1 Marlon Stewart G 6-1 210 Fr. Eldridge, Iowa / North Scott
2 Khyri Thomas G 6-3 200 Fr. Omaha, Neb. / Benson HS
4 Ronnie Harrell Jr. G 6-7 190 Fr. Denver, Colo. / East
5 Drew Cayce G 6-1 165 Fr. La Porte, Ind. / La Lumiere School
10 Maurice Watson Jr. G 5-10 170 Jr. Philadelphia, Pa. / Boys' Latin
11 Tyler Clement G 6-1 185 So. Shawnee, Kan. / St. Thomas Aquinas
12 Malik Albert G 6-2 170 Jr. Detroit, Mich. / King HS
13 Cole Huff F 6-8 215 Jr. Altadena, Calif. / Campbell Hall
15 Martin Krampelj F 6-9 205 Fr. Grosuplje, Slovenia / Impact Academy [Fla.]
20 Alex O'Neill F 6-8 240 Fr. Peoria, Ill. / Christian
21 Isaiah Zierden G 6-3 185 Jr. Minneapolis, Minn. / Benilde-St. Margaret's
22 Marcus Foster G 6-3 210 Jr. Wichita Falls, Texas / Hirschi HS
23 James Milliken G 6-3 185 Sr. Siler City, N.C. / Jordan Matthews
32 Toby Hegner F 6-10 225 So. Berlin, Wis. / Berlin
40 Zach Hanson F 6-9 250 Jr. Pierre, S.D. / T.F. Riggs
41 Geoffrey Groselle C 7-0 240 Sr. Plano, Texas / West