Omaha, NE (SportsNetwork.com) - The Creighton Bluejays picked up their first Big East victory of the season Wednesday, and will be hungry for more as they get set to host the 21st-ranked Georgetown Hoyas at CenturyLink Center Omaha.
Creighton put a stop to a nine-game losing streak with a narrow 77-74 edging of St. John's at home on Wednesday evening, which gave the Bluejays their first Big East Conference win in nine tries. Still, Creighton is sub-.500 this season at 10-12, with an 8-4 mark at home.
Georgetown moved into the Top-25 after picking up huge victories over Villanova and Butler during a four-game win stretch. But the Hoyas, fresh off of earning the No. 21 distinction, dropped a 66-53 decision to Xavier on Tuesday to slip back to 14-6, with a 6-3 record in Big East action.
This will be just the fifth meeting all-time between these relatively new conference rivals. The series is knotted up at two games apiece, although the Hoyas took the most recent matchup with the Bluejays back in early January, 76-61, in Washington.
After taking down some strong opponents by using a crushing offensive effort, Georgetown didn't get the same type of success shooting the ball Tuesday against Xavier. The Hoyas hit on only 39.5 percent of their tries from the floor, which included a 6-of-22 mark from 3-point distance in the loss. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored a team-best 13 points in the defeat, while L.J. Peak added 12 points off the bench and Joshua Smith tallied 10 points with five rebounds. The Hoyas fell behind Xavier by 13 points, 29-16, at halftime after shooting just 25 percent in the opening frame.
Although Georgetown picked up the loss on the rough shooting night, the defeat may have been an outlier for the Hoyas, who were on fire and tearing up opponents in Big East action up until Tuesday. Smith-Rivera has continued to provide on-the-court leadership with his team-leading scoring average of 15.2 ppg, adding in another team best in assists with 69 on the season. Smith is the only other Georgetown player to average a double-digit scoring margin this season, chipping in 12.5 ppg for a Hoyas squad that is netting 72.1 ppg on 46.6 percent shooting. Smith is also the team's leading rebounder at 6.8 boards per outing.
Creighton and St. John's shot the ball about evenly from the floor in Wednesday's night's Big East matchup. The Bluejays connected on 41.8 percent of their tries, while the Red Storm hit on 41.5 percent. But some clutch free throws down the stretch helped Creighton maintain a slight advantage for the team's first conference win of the season. Toby Hegner scored 21 points to pace the squad, while James Milliken added 17 points off the bench. Austin Chatman contributed 13 points, and Rick Kreklow rounded out the group of double-digit scorers for the Bluejays with 10 points in the winning effort.
Perhaps the win will spark something positive for the Bluejays, who have not performed well at all since the start of Big East play. Creighton is last in the league in scoring, averaging just 67.5 ppg on 41.6 percent shooting from the field. Chatman is the only Bluejays player to own a double-digit scoring figure this season at 11.0 ppg, also contributing a team-best in assists with 87 on the year. Creighton is hovering near the bottom of the Big East rankings in terms of scoring defense as well, allowing opponents to net 66.1 ppg. Devin Brooks, who brings down 4.8 rpg, is the team's leader on the glass this season.