NCAA Basketball

No. 7 Creighton looks to slow Seton Hall

Last season, Creighton and Seton Hall were among three teams earning a share the Big East regular-season title. They also sit near the top of the league standings to being the new year.

The No. 7 Bluejays will look for a fifth consecutive victory while trying to snap the visiting Pirates' three-game winning streak on Wednesday night in Omaha, Neb.

After opening the Big East season with an 89-84 home loss to Marquette, Creighton (8-2, 4-1 in Big East) has won four in a row. The Bluejays' last three wins over Connecticut, then-No. 22 Xavier and Providence came by a combined nine points.

Christian Bishop's dunk with 0.8 seconds left in regulation vaulted Creighton to a 67-65 victory at Providence on Saturday. Marcus Zegarowski (14.4 points per game, 4.9 assists per game) had 20 points and Damien Jefferson (11.4 ppg, 5.6 rebounds per game) added 18 as the Bluejays overcame a 42.6-percent shooting effort to pull out the win.

Creighton is shooting 39.9 percent over its past three contests. However, it held those opponents to 35.0 percent during that stretch.

"I think one of the things this team has done better is fixing things when things go bad," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said.

The Bluejays have had some time to fix any flaws in time for this significant conference matchup. Villanova sits 3-0 in the league with Seton Hall (8-4, 5-1 in Big East) and Creighton running two and three, respectively, in those standings.

"(Seton Hall is) playing as good as anybody in the country now," McDermott added. "We're attempting to stay on top of this league and attempting to stay within a swing of the top."

Creighton won both matchups with the Pirates last season. The most recent meeting was a 77-60 win in Omaha on March 7. Zegarowski totaled 41 points on 15-of-20 shooting in both of those contests against Seton Hall.

While the Bluejays won't have to worry about Myles Powell this season, they again must deal with 6-foot-11 Seton Hall star Sandro Mamukelashvili (18.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.4 assists per game). "Mamu," who has averaged just 10.8 points but with 9.3 rebounds in four games as a starter versus Creighton, is coming off a 24-point, nine-rebound effort in the Pirates' 68-60 home victory over Butler from Saturday.

After losing three of its first four games and dealing with early COVID-19 issues, Seton Hall has won seven of eight. The Pirates have shot 48.0 percent during their current three-game winning streak, while also holding their opponents to 65.0 points per contest and 40.2-percent shooting during that run.

"I think what we've done is - the consistency that we have with losing good players (like Powell) and then having really good players ready to step up and be in the fold in the program," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard told the Asbury Park Press. "I think it just kind of shows where the program's at.

"I think this team has a lot more growth to do."

In addition to Mamukelashveli, Seton Hall swingman Jared Rhoden is averaging 15.8 points.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 6, 2021

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