After losing three of its past four games and slipping out of this week’s AP Top 25 poll, Creighton has an opportunity to right the ship in the final week of the regular season.
The Bluejays will welcome last-place Georgetown on Wednesday for their final home game of the season in Omaha, Neb.
After that, Creighton (18-11, 12-6 Big East) will visit 10th-place DePaul as it attempts to move as high as the No. 3 seed in next week’s Big East tournament.
Coach Greg McDermott’s group had won eight in a row before a double-overtime loss at Providence kicked off the recent rough patch. The Bluejays lost 79-67 at Villanova on Saturday, when they shot just 10-for-28 in the first half and 2-for-13 from 3-point range to fall behind 14 by halftime.
On the other end, Creighton allows the fewest points per game (67.4) and lowest shooting percentage (41.5) in Big East play. But it allowed Villanova to shoot an even 50 percent and Eric Dixon to score a career-high 31 points, including six 3-pointers.
“We’ve got one of the elite defensive players in the country at the rim (Ryan Kalkbrenner), and Villanova was able to turn our defense inside out with Dixon’s ability to stretch the floor,” McDermott told reporters. “Then once he hit some, I think we got caught in between some (switches). ‘Should we go, should we stay?’ And now we’re giving up threes and we’re giving up layups.”
Kalkbrenner, a 7-foot-1 center, posted a game-high 16 points when Creighton and Georgetown met earlier this season. Both teams had shooting days to forget as Creighton pulled out a 63-53 win Feb. 1 in Washington, D.C.
The Hoyas (7-23, 2-17) will play their regular-season finale Wednesday after another challenging campaign under coach Patrick Ewing. Georgetown is 75-107 in the six seasons Ewing has coached his alma mater, including 13-48 and 2-36 in conference since the start of last season.
Georgetown is locked into the No. 11 seed for the Big East tournament.
Primo Spears dropped 26 points and Jay Heath added 19 in the Hoyas’ most recent outing, an 88-68 home loss to Providence on Sunday.
“Creighton, they play much faster than Providence does,” Ewing said. “They’ve got guys that can shoot at pretty much every position, so we have to do a great job of guarding the paint but also get to them at the 3-point line. Kalkbrenner is one of the best bigs in our conference.
“We’re gonna have our work cut out for us. But anything is possible.”
–Field Level Media