- Associated Press - Sunday, March 16, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Doug McDermott had just drained consecutive 3-pointers and Creighton was trying to finish off a furious rally in the final minutes of the Big East championship game.

With the Bluejays down four and only 30 seconds remaining, the nation’s leading scorer hoisted another one from long range.

Really long range.

Had to be at least 25 feet.

“I thought it was going in,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said.

But the ball hit the front of the rim and bounced away, ending the best chance left for the 14th-ranked Bluejays.

McDermott knew it, too.

After the Friars grabbed the rebound, he leaned over at the waist and grabbed his shorts, knowing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity had slipped away. Providence closed out a 65-58 victory Saturday night, and Creighton’s dreams of winning a conference title in its first Big East season were over.

“I really thought we were going to win that game,” said McDermott, banged up on a hard fall just moments earlier. “Things just felt right up there.”

Bryce Cotton scored 23 points for Providence, which won its only other Big East tournament title in 1994.

The fourth-seeded Friars (23-11) put forth a great defensive effort, using a 2-3 zone to stall the second-seeded Bluejays and hold them 24 points below their season average.

Creighton, which came in shooting a league-best 42.7 percent on 3s this season, went 8 for 30 (26.7 percent) from behind the arc. And with a championship on the line, the Big East newcomers were taught a rookie lesson.

“I think this one stung a little bit worse than the rest,” said reserve Avery Dingman, who scored 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting.

Cooley had a simple explanation for why he played so much zone, an atypical and gutsy tactic against a team that shoots as well as Creighton does from deep.

“We had to come up with something different,” he said. “We were fortunate that they missed some shots and we made a couple.”

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