PROVIDENCE SWEEPS THE BLUE JAYS, 74-65

When you lose at home, as Providence did on Wednesday against St. John’s, it becomes imperative to get that win back with a victory on the road. And that’s exactly what the Friars did at Creighton, 74-65.

Kris Dunn controlled play from start to finish and racked up 21 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists as the Friars led almost wire to wire against the Blue Jays. Creighton’s only lead of the game came at 2-0 after James Miliken canned a jumper, but PC answered with 12 straight points for a 12-2 lead, highlighted by two Ben Bentil baskets and a Jalen Lindsey follow dunk off a Dunn miss.

From there, Providence played with the lead. The Blue Jays made several runs, and pulled within 18-17 and 23-22 but each time, the Friars answered with big baskets of their own, first on a Tyler Harris three and then on a LIndsey three. Creighton was left to chase and the offensively challenged Blue Jays had issues playing from behind.

Providence’s superior height and length clearly bothered the home team, as Carson Desrosiers scored easily inside with baby hooks and blocked and altered several shots. PC spurted to halftime with a 11-2 run, on a Desrosiers jumper, another Harris three and when LaDontae Henton knocked down a three pointer of his own with six seconds left, the Friars had a 34-24 lead at the break.

Rick Kreklow and Miliken three pointers trimmed PC’s lead to 37-33, but again PC had an answer, this time a Harris three., a Dunn layup and two Henton free throws. The Friars not only were answering every challenge, they were breaking Creighton’s back with multiple end of the shot clock baskets.

With about five and a half minutes to play, Creighton made their final push. Two Kreklow free throws got the lead below ten, at 60-51. Fouls on Dunn and Henton led to a Devin Brooks drive that cut the lead to 65-59 with 3:11 left. Two big plays by Dunn gave the Friars some breathing room. First, near the end of the shot clock, he drove the lane, pivoted under the basket and scooped in a layup. Then, after a Miliken miss, he made it 69-59 with 1:40 left with another drive and step back lane jumper.

Two Dunn free throws were followed by two Brooks’ layup misses and a Lindsey free throw. With :51 remaining Dunn fouled Miliken on a three point try and Miliken knocked down all three free throws to cut the lead to 72-65, but free throws by Henton closed out the game.

With the win, Providence improved to 14-5 overall and 4-2 in the Big East, good for a second place tie with Georgetown, a half game behind Villanova. Meanwhile, Creighton dropped to 9-10 and a surprising 0-6 in league play.

Along with Dunn, Henton came up big for Providence with 18 points, including 9-9 from the free throw line. But this was a game in which the supporting cast more than contributed and anytime that happens, that makes PC a tough out.

Tyler Harris played his best game in awhile, scoring 13 points, on 3-6 threes. Jalen Lindsey knocked down a three and cleaned up two misses with emphatic put-back dunks, scoring 8 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in one of his most active games as a Friar. Carson Desrosiers was a force inside, with 9 points, 8 rebounds and 6 blocks and thoroughly intimidated Creighton in the paint. And Ben Bentil contributed 4 points on two early baskets and 3 rebounds.

PCs bigs played this game in deep foul trouble but survived. Paschal Chukwu fouled out in limited minutes, while Desrosiers, Bentil and Dunn all played through 4 fouls. The Friars also dominated the glass by a 35-25 margin. Creighton struggled all game against PC’s zone, and only Miliken, with 22 points, ever really had a measure of success. The Blue Jays shot just 7-19 from three and just 19-48 overall. This is clearly not the Blue Jays of last year, a terrific outside shooting team. With the win, PC completes the season sweep and grabs a much needed second league road win.

The Friars will now have some time off as they don’t return to the hardwood until Thursday when they take on a dangerous Xavier team at the Dunk at 7 p.m.

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