New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Both the Creighton Bluejays and the St. John's Red Storm have won multiple games in a row, but one streak will end as they clash head-to-head in a Big East Conference showdown at Madison Square Garden Sunday.
Creighton has won four consecutive games, and eight of its last nine since the new year began. The Bluejays are coming off a 78-66 defeat of DePaul in conference play to move to 9-1 in the Big East, good for a first-place tie with Villanova. The Bluejays downed St. John's at the end of January, 63-60.
The Red Storm have won two games in a row and five of their last six altogether and now sit at 4-6 in-conference. St. John's is coming off a hard- fought 86-76 victory over Providence on the road.
In the brief all-time series history, Creighton leads St. John's, 5-3, including the win earlier this season.
Creighton shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half of Friday's game with DePaul, and took a 39-31 lead into the half. The Bluejays only built on their lead in the second half as they downed the Blue Demons in conference play. All-American Doug McDermott led the way for Creighton with 32 points on 9-of-21 shooting from the floor, adding nine rebounds to his stat line. Austin Chatman netted 11 points with five rebounds in the win.
McDermott is averaging a team-best 25.3 ppg (second in the nation) this season on 49.6 percent shooting from the floor, and 42.6 percent from 3-point range. McDermott also tops the team in rebounding at 7.2 rpg. Fellow forward Ethan Wragge is the only other Creighton player to average double digits at 11.9 ppg. Chatman tops the squad with 94 total assists on the year.
Like Creighton, St. John's used a first-half offensive explosion to get ahead of Providence early on, as the Red Storm took a 53-37 lead into the intermission. D'Angelo Harrison scored a team-high 22 points with six rebounds, while JaKarr Sampson wasn't far behind with 21 points and seven boards. Rysheed Jordan netted 18 points with a team-best six assists, and Chris Obekpa tallied 10 points in the win.
Harrison has proven to be a solid scorer for St. John's this season, as his 18.3 ppg average leads the team. Sampson is the only other Red Storm player to average double figures in points, netting 12.7 ppg with a team-leading 6.3 rpg average. Jordan (8.2 ppg) has a team-best 65 assists on the season. The Red Storm are averaging 73.2 ppg this season through 23 contests.