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No. 22 Creighton back on the upswing ahead of DePaul trip

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Fresh off a week with two victories, Creighton will have more than momentum when it goes back on the road. It also will be nationally ranked for a matchup Tuesday against DePaul in Chicago.

The No. 22 Bluejays (11-4, 2-2 Big East) moved back into the polls Monday after victories last week over Georgetown and Providence, which was No. 23 at the time but was a far different team without the injured Bryce Hopkins.

Creighton pulled away late in Saturday’s 69-60 victory over Providence as Ryan Kalkbrenner scored 22 points with 12 rebounds and Trey Alexander added 21 points. Leading scorer Baylor Scheierman (17.9 points per game) was held to nine points on 4-of-16 shooting, the first time he has been in single digits this season.

“We felt coming in that Providence was as physical of a defensive team that we have played, and that turned out to be the case,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said after his team had a 42-34 rebounding advantage. “A lot of collisions at the rim that we had to play through, and I thought we did a good job fighting on the glass, for the most part.”

The Bluejays evened their Big East record after opening conference play with consecutive defeats, including a loss at then-No. 10 Marquette. They also lost at home in overtime to Villanova.

And while it looks like the Bluejays will have an easier time Tuesday while facing DePaul (3-11, 0-3), the early unpredictability of Big East play has their attention. Once a top-10 team, Marquette is off to a 2-2 start in the conference, while Seton Hall and St. John’s have risen to the top in the early going.

“Any game, any night you can’t take anybody for granted,” said Kalkbrenner, who averages 15.5 points and 7.1 rebounds. “Everyone in the league is good. You can’t be lazy in the preparation for any team because they’ll come out and smack you no matter who they are.”

DePaul had its shot at a first Big East victory Saturday before falling 68-65 on the road against Georgetown in a battle of winless teams in conference play. DePaul trailed 62-61 with 4:11 remaining, then went more than three minutes without scoring.

Da’Sean Nelson scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting for the Blue Demons and Jaden Henley added a career-best 17 points. The late scoring drought came as they missed two shots and had two turnovers, but DePaul still managed to shoot 54.2 percent (13 of 24) in the second half.

“I think we shot ourselves in the foot the last 3-4 minutes of that game with some bad offensive possessions and not finishing a couple possessions,” DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield said, after Chico Carter Jr. missed a potential game-tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

Carter scored 10 points Saturday and leads the Blue Demons with 12.5 per game. Nelson is scoring 11.4 points, while Jeremiah Oden scores 10.6, but had just five points against Georgetown.

DePaul is 3-6 at home this season.

–Field Level Media

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