NCAA Basketball

No. 13 Creighton looks to cool off DePaul

Nearly two weeks removed from its biggest win -- and most recent game -- of the season, Creighton's immediate focus is simply about getting better.

And avoiding a letdown against the last-place team in the Big East.

The No. 13 Bluejays (16-5, 12-4 Big East) aim for a fourth straight victory when they look to continue their recent series success over visiting DePaul (4-10, 2-10) on Wednesday night in Omaha, Neb.

Creighton is 6-1 since suffering consecutive defeats to Butler and Providence on Jan. 16 and 20, respectively.

However, no win was bigger than a resounding 86-70 home rout of then-No. 5 Villanova on Feb. 13, when Marcus Zegarowski had a season-high 25 points and Mitch Ballock added 20.

Christian Bishop and Damien Jefferson each posted a double-double while combining for 26 points and 20 rebounds as the Bluejays shot 59.3 percent and went 12-for-26 (46.2 percent) from 3-point range.

While that was certainly a statement win the Bluejays aren't satisfied with their recent success.

"The key right now is keep building, keep growing," Zegarowski, averaging a team-best 15.0 points, told the Omaha World-Herald.

"We've got to work on some things and get ready for DePaul ... I still think we have another gear to get to. I think we have a lot to improve on. It's good to know that. We're still not scratching the surface of what we can be -- on both ends of the floor."

Zegarowski had 19 points while Bishop and Denzel Mahoney each scored 14 as Creighton overcame a 41.1-percent shooting effort by holding DePaul to 36.9 percent from the field and 6-for-24 from 3-point range to pull out a 69-62 win in Chicago on Jan. 30.

The Bluejays have won 13 straight against the Blue Demons, including five in a row at home by an average margin of 21.2 points.

DePaul, however, should have a measure of momentum and confidence heading into this contest after snapping its five-game losing streak with Saturday's 88-83 win at St. John's.

Leading scorer Charlie Moore (14.6 ppg) returned from a two-game absence due to a knee injury to come off the bench to post 24 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

The Blue Demons shot a blistering 63 percent from the field after making just 36.6 percent of their shots during their five-game skid.

Moore has scored at least 21 points in three of his past four games.

"Charlie, after not playing for a couple of weeks, (his performance against St. John's) was huge," Blue Demons coach Dave Leitao told student site The DePaulia. "Particularly, controlling our offense, making plays, getting into the paint, taking shots."

Moore, who did not face Creighton last month, had 20 points in a 93-64 road loss to the Bluejays last season.

Teammate Ray Salnave had a season-high 21 points at Creighton last month. Javon Freeman-Liberty recorded 13 points with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals in that game, but could miss a third consecutive contest while in concussion protocol for the Blue Demons.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 22, 2021

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