Around the Big East: Big East Baller Update No. 3

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St. John's Red Storm guard Julian Champagnie (2) shoots against Connecticut guard R.J. Cole (1) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn., Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (David Butler II/Pool Photo via AP)

UConn basketball fans and alum alike are drinking hot sauce for a great cause, something started after doubting the team early in the second half. What is also hot right now is Big East basketball, as all 11 teams are ramping up toward the middle of the season. Fans would like to be there for the Big East Tournament if that is possible, but until then, there are games to go over that took place from Christmas to the start of the semester. 

Writer’s Note: Villanova ended their pause yesterday while Georgetown and Xavier are still on “pause”.

Player(s) of the Week:

Sandro Mamumkelashvili – Seton Hall (12/28 – 1/2) 

Tyler Polley – UConn (1/3 – 1/9) 

Julian Champagnie – St. John’s (1/10 – 1/17) 

Rookie(s) of the Week: 

Dawson Garcia – Marquette (12/28 – 1/2) 

Colby Jones – Xavier (1/3 – 1/9) 

Dawson Garcia – Marquette (1/10 – 1/17) 

Big East Record Overall: 75-50 

Creighton vs. Providence: Chess with Point Guards and Centers (Jan. 2) 

There were times when this game looked like a blowout, but Greg McDermott and Ed Cooley played their pieces well in another close affair for both teams. At one point, Creighton went on an 18-2 run to take over the first half and was up by 13 on the Friars in the second before they managed to fight back to make things close at the very end. After two Noah Horchler free throws cut the lead to two, Denzel Mahoney turned the ball over, which led to a Horchler layup. But before one could say “overtime,” Marcus Zegarowski found Christian Bishop charging up the lane, which led to his last-second dunk to stun the Friars and escape Providence with a 67-65 win.  

This game had its limits. Creighton’s Zegarowski had 20 points on seven rebounds while Damien Jefferson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. As for Providence, Nate Watson and David Duke had 13 points each and 14 rebounds combined while Horchler added 12 points of his own. As a team, both offenses were limited as Creighton shot 34.5% from deep while Providence connected on just 33.8% of their shots. This led to a defensive stalemate as Providence got 45 rebounds and Creighton picked up 35. Both teams have balanced attacks that can be limited with the right pieces making the right defensive moves, and this game proved that everyone in the conference should be on their toes when it comes to both scoring and defending as there are unsung players that could emerge as well. 

 
Providence vs. Xavier: Just Your Average Sunday (Jan. 10) 

Providence guard David Duke (3) reacts after making a 3-point shot in the second half of an NCAA basketball game, against Xavier, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

There were times when this game looked like a blowout, but Greg McDermott and Ed Cooley played their pieces well in another close affair for both teams. At one point, Creighton went on an 18-2 run to take over the first half and was up by 13 on the Friars in the second before they managed to fight back to make things close at the very end. After two Noah Horchler free throws cut the lead to two, Denzel Mahoney turned the ball over, which led to a Horchler layup. But before one could say “overtime,” Marcus Zegarowski found Christian Bishop charging up the lane, which led to his last-second dunk to stun the Friars and escape Providence with a 67-65 win.  

This game had its limits. Creighton’s Zegarowski had 20 points on seven rebounds while Damien Jefferson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. As for Providence, Nate Watson and David Duke had 13 points each and 14 rebounds combined while Horchler added 12 points of his own. As a team, both offenses were limited as Creighton shot 34.5% from deep while Providence connected on just 33.8% of their shots. This led to a defensive stalemate as Providence got 45 rebounds and Creighton picked up 35. Both teams have balanced attacks that can be limited with the right pieces making the right defensive moves, and this game proved that everyone in the conference should be on their toes when it comes to both scoring and defending as there are unsung players that could emerge as well. 

Marquette vs. St. John’s: A Swinging Momentum Pendulum (Jan. 16) 

Both teams did not disappoint as they fought with fire and fury in a must-win game. The first half was a back-and-forth affair as each team had a lead. St. John’s had theirs to kick the game off while Marquette led for most of the half. The second half saw the Golden Eagles pull ahead early, with DJ Carton showing off his power with two fantastic dunks. But after those dunks, Julian Champagnie took over and made the second half his own show. Over a five-minute span, Champagnie scored all 12 points the Red Storm needed to take the lead. After wrestling the lead away from each other, Marquette got a critical layup from Koby McEwen in the final 30 seconds of the game. One sequence of events later, Champagnie took an inbounds pass and had the opportunity to be the hero, but his shot was just short. As a result, Marquette won its second consecutive conference game by a score of 73-71. 

St Johns held the lead against St. John’s until in the second half. The score ending with Marquette winning, final score being 73 to 71. Video originally tweeted by St. John’s BBall (@StJohnsBBall) on January 16, 2021.

Champagnie finished with 20 points, 18 of which were in the second half, and got help from Greg Williams Jr.’s 15 points and Posh Alexander’s incredible durability and nine points. Carton led the way for Marquette with 14 points while Greg Elliott and Justin Lewis got 13 each. Both teams were balanced and limited, as the Eagles shot 46.4% from the field collected 42 rebounds. In response, the Red Storm made 37.7% of its shots while taking 39 rebounds and making 12 steals. Both teams were fighting to stay in the middle of the pack, and for them, every game is important to stay ahead in this competitive conference. 

Choosing games from this span was hard, and there are a couple games not on this list such as Creighton-Butler, but no game is ever a guarantee nor a significant blowout in this challenging conference. Until next time, this has been a Big East Baller Update. 

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