Creighton Bluejays vs. Providence Friars Pick & Prediction JANUARY 6th 2024

No. 23 Providence went from riding how to trying to pick up the pieces as the Friars shove off for a visit to Creighton on Saturday at Omaha, Neb. A four-game winning streak came to an end Wednesday with the Friars’ 61-57 home loss to Seton Hall. The setback came eight days after the Friars (11-3, 2-1 Big East) pulled off a 72-57 victory over then-No. 6 Marquette on Dec. 19. The biggest blow on Wednesday came when Bryce Hopkins went down with a season-ending left knee injury with 14:59 remaining in the game. Hopkins, a 6-foot-7 guard/forward, leads Providence with 8.6 rebounds and is second in scoring at 15.5 points. “We all feel for Bryce and his family in this difficult time,” Providence head coach Kim English said. “We will be with him throughout this process to help him come back stronger than ever.” Tests Thursday confirmed a torn ACL for Hopkins, news leading scorer Devin Carter (16.2 points) and second-leading rebounder (8.1) was dreading. “I can tell by how loud he was (while in pain) on the court that it was kind of serious,” Carter said. Providence trailed 37-31 at the time of Hopkins’ injury before pushing ahead 47-46 with 6:37 remaining. The game was tied 51-51 with 4:40 remaining but the Friars made just one more basket from the floor from there. “It was exactly the type of game we knew it would be,” English said. “Gritty, tough, physical. At the end of the day, it just came down to making plays.” Creighton (10-4, 1-2) plummeted 10 spots in the polls the week of Christmas following an overtime loss to Villanova. Last week’s 72-67 loss to then-No. 10 Marquette bounced them from the poll. The Bluejays rebounded Tuesday to earn a 77-60 victory over Georgetown at Washington D.C. when Trey Alexander scored 25 points and Baylor Scheierman added 18 with 12 rebounds. The first Big East victory of the season was helped by a 26-7 run early in the second half. “I thought they refocused and were ready to play this game,” Creighton head coach Greg McDermott said after the win to follow consecutive defeats. Scheierman also reached 500 career assists with four against the Hoyas and is one of two Big East players to score in double figures in each of his team’s games this season. Ryan Kalkbrenner had 12 points and nine rebounds with four blocked shots. “We have the luxury of having Kalkbrenner back at the rim and in our drop coverage we kind of send everything to him and they either take a contested two-point shot or challenge him at the rim,” McDermott said of his 7-foot-1 center, who was a difference maker on defense in the second half. “… Even if Kalkbrenner isn’t blocking shots, guys don’t take shots when they get in deep against him.” With one 3-point basket on Saturday, Creighton will extend its streak of a made basket from distance to 1,000 consecutive games. It is the 10th longest active streak. –Field Level Media

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