PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Creighton coach Greg McDermott will get a little extra time to relish his first victory over the Friars in Providence.
The 10th-ranked Bluejays were preparing for an unexpected night in Rhode Island’s capital on Saturday night after beating Providence 78-64. A snowstorm blanketed the area with up to a foot of snow, and Creighton wasn’t optimistic about getting out on time.
“I haven’t enjoyed my stays here very much in the past,” said McDermott, who was 1-6 against the Friars and 0-3 in Providence. “So I’m going to try to smile a little bit tonight.”
Justin Patton had 20 points and Maurice Watson Jr. scored 11 with 14 assists as the Bluejays (15-1, 3-1 Big East) won in Providence for the first time since 1970. Marcus Foster had 17 points and Khyri Thomas added 16 for Creighton.
Emmitt Holt scored 17 points and Kalif Young had nine rebounds for Providence (11-6, 1-3).
With a snowstorm dumping 6-12 inches on the area, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was unusually quiet for a visit from a Top 10 team.
The early stumble didn’t help.
PC missed its first six shots before Holt’s layup made it 10-2 with 4 minutes gone in the game. The Friars managed to stay within 10 points until there were about 8 minutes left, when Creighton went on a 15-1 run to put the game away.
“I appreciate everyone who came out,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said. “I don’t think we ever gave the crowd enough down the stretch for them to get us over the hump like they have in the past.”
Providence had won its last five against Creighton, including the 2014 Big East title game. The Bluejays’ only victory in Providence was in 1970, when the Friars played on campus.
Creighton scored the first 10 points of the game and nursed the lead for most of the first half until two layups by Holt and a jumper by Isaiah Jackson tied it 27-all with 5 minutes before the break. It was 31-31 when the Bluejays scored eight straight points on two dunks by Patton and two layups by Thomas to help them take a 39-33 halftime lead.
Creighton opened the season with 13 straight wins before losing to then-No. 1 Villanova on New Year’s Eve. The Bluejays will have another big test against No. 18 Butler.
The Friars had a tough start to Big East play, with games against ranked Xavier, Butler and Creighton among their first four (along with Georgetown). Next up is unranked DePaul.
UNDER THE WEATHER I
The announced attendance of 8,176 was 4,000 short of a sellout and probably inflated by several thousand no-shows.
Both coaches noticed.
“The weather probably helped us a little today. There wasn’t as many as we usually see here,” McDermott said. “It’s one of the places we’ve never been able to get a win. We came in here with a really good team our first year in the Big East and got pounded.”
Creighton had planned to head back after the game but was making plans to stay.
“Our plane’s here ready to go,” McDermott said, “but the pilots are putting on the brakes.”
UNDER THE WEATHER II
Watson threw up at halftime of Wednesday’s game against St. John’s and was still feeling the effects of flu-like symptoms late this week. But he played a team-high 36 minutes.
“I’m OK. We got a win. We’ve got a day off,” he said. “It’s all in a day’s work.”
PC point guard Kyron Cartwright left the game with knee tendinitis with 5 minutes left in the first half and the Friars trailing by two points. They managed to tie the game twice before Creighton went on an 8-0 run.
Cartwright, who averages 10 points and seven assists, finished with one point and no assists in 12 minutes.
“That’s a big blow to your team,” McDermott said. “We certainly weren’t playing a full-strength team.”
Creighton returns home to play No. 18 Butler on Wednesday.
Providence visits DePaul on Tuesday.
This story has been corrected to show that the Creighton coach’s first name is Greg, not Doug, McDermott.
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