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Preview: Creighton at Providence

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Creighton looks to extend its winning streak to 11 and remain unbeaten in the Big East Conference when it visits dangerous Providence on Saturday. The 19th-ranked Bluejays have won their two league road tests by an average of 16 points, paced by the nation’s second-leading scorer in Doug McDermott, and boast the most 3-pointers in the country with 191. Providence comes in off two straight wins, including the 84-83 double-overtime triumph at St. John’s on Thursday, and is 8-1 at home.

Providence guard Bryce Cotton is second behind McDermott in the Big East in scoring and made the winning basket against St. John’s. McDermott is shooting 50.5 percent while scoring 28 points or more in three of his first five league games and the depth-challenged Friars will need to find a way to limit the 6-8 National Player of the Year candidate. Creighton is 4-0 on the road and has won nine of the last 10 overall by double digits.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

ABOUT CREIGHTON (15-2, 5-0 Big East): Ethan Wragge is the only other Bluejay averaging in double figures scoring at 11.9 and shoots 50 percent from behind the 3-point arc (63-of-126). Guards Jahenns Manigat and Austin Chatman have also played key roles, totaling 123 assists and only 44 turnovers, while guard Devin Brooks has added 8.3 points per game. McDermott averages 25.2 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds, making 49.5 percent of his shots, as Creighton leads the league at 82.6 points a contest.

ABOUT PROVIDENCE (12-5, 2-2): Cotton averages 20.2 points and a league-best 5.8 assists while being forced to take over the point guard duties after Kris Dunn was lost for the season with an injury. Three other players average in double figures scoring the Friars, who have only six active players averaging more than 7 ½ minutes of playing time. Tyler Harris scores 13.4 points per game, Kadeem Batts chips in with 12.8 and LaDontae Henton averages 12.8 to go along with a team-best 7.4 rebounds.

TIP-INS

1. Wragge has made at least two 3-pointers in 13 consecutive games and owns 287 in his career – second on the all-time list at Creighton.

2. Providence leads the nation in free-throw shooting at 80.1 percent – 77.1 in league play.

3. Creighton leads the all-time series 6-4, including a victory in the last meeting 63-51 in 2000.

PREDICTION: Providence 77, Creighton 74

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140118/preview-creighton-at-providence