The author of the Big East Baller Update is unavailable due to “a business trip” he took to Jupiter, Florida. He has asked the sickos committee to cover this week’s edition.
Road losses, court storming and unique oddities best define this past week in college basketball. To say that all occurred in one game (Villanova vs. UConn) would be a lie because these events happened all week long. Let’s not wait around any longer, here were the most chaotic games of the week.
Writer’s Note: Seven Top 10 teams lost on the same day? Yes … ha ha ha … yes.
Player of the Week: Javon Freeman-Liberty – DePaul
Freshman of the Week: Trey Alexander – Creighton
Creighton vs. St. John’s (Feb. 23): Sickos Advisory
Both teams are going beyond expectations. Creighton is above their goals behind a strong freshman class. St. John’s is below their goals, partially due to the transfer portal. In a game of this magnitude, who would keep their storyline going?
After Creighton bounced out to a nine-point lead in the first half only to lose it, the Johnnies got a nine-point lead of their own before Creighton pecked away. The Blue Jays had yet to recapture the lead, but that all changed with 12:55 left as Posh Alexander and Ryan Nembhard collided before a foul was called.
That collision ended Nembhard’s season via a wrist injury. Down a major point producer, the Blue Jays had to respond and did so by recapturing the lead on an Alexander three-pointer. After several minutes of intense jostling, Creighton sealed their lead for good as Ryan Hawkins converted a layup and Ryan Kalkbrenner made two free throws. The Johnnies could have won or tied this game, but several shots by Mathis and Wheeler came up short as the Blue Jays held on for the 81-78 win.
This game was close in all aspects, from three-point shooting to rebounds. Hawkins had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Blue Jays while Kalkbrenner had 19 and Alexander had 16. Mathis led the Johnnies with 15 points while Omar Stanley had 14 off the bench. The sickos committee wishes Nembhard a speedy recovery and hopes to see him back on the court next season.
DePaul vs. Georgetown (Feb. 24): Sickos Watch
If you said in December that DePaul would not be the worst team in the conference, the committee would have a straight face. Fast forward to February, and Georgetown had yet to win a conference game while DePaul had won three. Could the Hoyas get that elusive conference win, their first since the Big East Tournament?
DePaul used a 12-0 run to take control in the first half, despite missed shots and defensive plays by both teams. To DePaul’s surprise, however, Georgetown wanted a win in conference play, and they went tooth-and-nail with the Blue Demons to make magic happen. At one point, Georgetown had a five-point lead and a conference win was only 10 minutes away. But, Tony Stubblefield had other plans as his team took the lead back on multiple occasions.
Aminu Mohammed gave Georgetown the lead with 1:14 to play at the free throw line, but before the Hoyas could start showing their excitement, Javon-Freeman Liberty made a thunderous layup with 1:01 to play. Georgetown missed every other opportunity they had, all from beyond the arc, as DePaul survived 68-65.
This was the closest game the Hoyas have had all season in Big East play, and they nearly got rewarded for their hard work and dedication. Mohammed had 18 points and nine rebounds while Carey had 15. Freeman-Liberty had a blast, scoring 25 points while Nick Ongenda had 11. Georgetown sits at 0-17 in the Big East with two games remaining.
Xavier vs. No. 11 Providence (Feb. 23): Sickos Warning
Providence was in control of their own destiny. The Friars had to win two games against formidable opponents in Xavier and Creighton to clinch their first-ever regular season crown. Before that could happen, chaos reigned supreme.
The second half was chaos. With 2:47 left in regulation, Dwon Odom deleted Nate Watson’s ankles en route to a layup. Seconds later, the referees called a stoppage of play because the court was flooding both from the roof and from the ice underneath. If that coincidental pause wasn’t chaotic enough, Al Durham made a jumper with 23 seconds left and Adam Kunkel’s shot came up just short as the two teams had to go to overtime.
Xavier scored five points before Providence tied the game on a Justin Minaya layup. Both teams came up short in the final seconds and a second overtime period was required. There were 10 free throw attempts in the final 21 seconds of the second frame, but Paul Scruggs made a buzzer-beating game-tying three-pointer to force yet another overtime.
Jared Bynum provided the dagger from long range in the third OT as Xavier came up short and the Friars survived 99-92. The sheer chaos from this game had the same amount of wild energy as the Chargers-Raiders game and the Illinois-Penn St. 9 OT war.
Every Musketeer starter scored in double figures, but Kunkel was picking up 20 points off the bench to lead the team. The same could be said for Providence as Bynum had 27 with five threes off the bench. Three days later, the Friars bashed Creighton en route to the regular season title while Xavier booed their struggling team off the court.
The sickos committee has declared the Big East the No. 3 sickos conference in college basketball (No. 2 is the SEC, No. 1 is the ACC). The sickos committee will now go into hibernation and reawaken in late August. The typical author of the Big East Baller Update has left us a note asking us to tell the reader that next week is the Big East Tournament preview.