You have to love this team. After dropping their first two Big East contests, the Friars (13-5, 3-2) are suddenly back from the dead, winning their third straight conference game last night in a convincing 81-68 win over Big East leading scorer Doug McDermott and the #20 Creighton Bluejays.
The Friars controlled the game from the start, jumping out to an early lead and taking a 37-30 lead into the half. Kadeem Batts kept up his strong play as of late and led Providence in the first half with a dominant 10 point and seven rebound first half performance.
McDermott was minimized in the opening half, as the Friars forced him into foul trouble and held him to just eight points.
The Friars put together a full team effort in the second half. Near the 14-minute mark, the Friars had started the half on an 18-5 run, extending their lead to 55-35.
Creighton cut their deficit to nine within two minutes left, but clutch free throws from Tyler Harris were too much for the Bluejays to overcome.
•Cotton continues impressive play
Bryce Cotton was once again the Friars best player and the best player on the floor last night, this time compiling a game-high 23 points and six assists. McDermott is great, but I’d take Cotton on my team over McDermott nine days out of seven.
LaDontae Henton chipped in with 19 points and six boards, while Batts fought through some foul trouble to finish with 13 points and nine rebounds.
McDermott was Creighton’s high scorer with 21 points and seven rebounds.
The Friars will have a favorable matchup Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. as they’ll host a reeling Butler (11-7, 1-5) team, who haven’t been warmly welcomed into the Big East. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.