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College Hoops | Bluejays at Cougars

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College Hoops | Bluejays at Cougars

By Don Phillips


No. 4 Creighton Bluejays at No. 2 Brigham Young Cougars

 9:00 PM ET, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Marriott Center (22,700), Provo, Utah


Television: ESPN

Radio: KOZN 1620 AM,

Series History: BYU leads, 6-3

Last Meeting: BYU 77 – Creighton 65 on Dec. 1, 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska


BYU is 25-10 this season, including a 15-2 mark at home. The Cougars went 13-5 in the West Coast Conference, finishing third behind Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga. Chase Fischer (18.3 ppg.), Nick Emery(16.2 ppg.) and Kyle Collinsworth (15.3 ppg.) give the Cougars one of the highest-scoring trio’s in the college game.

Fischer has made 109 three-pointers and made big play after big play down the stretch of BYU’s 80-77 win over Virginia Tech on Friday.

Collinsworth owns the NCAA single-season (6) and career (12) records for triple-doubles and leads the team in rebounds (8.4 rpg.), assists (7.6 apg.) and steals (1.9 spg.) per contest.

The Cougars are +4.8 on the glass and shoot 46.4 percent from the field, 38.4 percent from three-point range and 68.9 percent from the line.

Creighton is 20-14, with wins over the likes of Xavier, Seton Hall and Butler this season prior to a 72-54 victory over Alabama last Tuesday and an 87-54 triumph over Wagner on Saturday. Picked to finish ninth in the preseason, the Bluejays went 9-9 in league play and finished sixth in the BIG EAST this year.

The Bluejays are averaging 79.6 points per game and are 15-1 when scoring 80 or more points this season.

Second Team All-BIG EAST guard Maurice Watson Jr. leads the conference with 6.5 assists per contest and Creighton with 14.2 points per game, while Geoffrey Groselle tops the club with 6.1 rebounds per game and is third with 10.9 points per game. He’s shooting 69.7 percent from the field this year, second nationally among players with at least five attempts per game.

Cole Huff (11.1 ppg.) has been in double-figures in eight of the last 11 games, including a career-high 35 points vs. Seton Hall in the BIG EAST Tournament, while James Milliken(9.7 ppg.) has scored 103 points in his last six games and played some of his best basketball in March the past two seasons.

Creighton has made its name over the years for its offensive prowess, shooting ability and “Let It Fly” philosophy, but this year’s team has done its best work in the NIT on the defensive side of the court.

Creighton held Alabama to 28.3 percent shooting from the floor, and 54 points overall, last Tuesday. Those two figures led all NIT teams on the defensive end in the first round of the postseason.

In a second round win over Wagner, Creighton held the Seahawks to 27.9 percent shooting from the field and 54 points overall. The 27.9 percent shooting is the second-best defensive effort by the Bluejays in the six-year Greg McDermott era.

This is also the first time since November 23 & 25, 2014, that Creighton has held consecutive opponents to 54 points or less. CU has not held three straight foes to 54 or less since December of 2010.

Through games on Saturday, Creighton leads all teams in the NIT in scoring defense (54.0), field goal percentage defense (.281) and rebound margin (+16.0).

Selection: Creighton