No. 19 Creighton heads to Georgetown with payback in mind

NCAA Men's Basketball

Creighton admittedly lacked defensive energy, hustle and a fast-paced attack during last week’s loss to Georgetown, all familiar attributes the Bluejays regained Saturday to defeat Marquette on the road.

“We talked about what we needed to do to win. We scratched everything else,” Creighton’s Damien Jefferson said. “At the end of the day, we said we were going to go out there and be tough and have fun. I’m proud of the guys. Because everything we talked about, we did.”

With a rematch at Georgetown looming Tuesday, the No. 19 Bluejays (14-5, 10-4 Big East) come to with McDonough Arena in Washington, D.C., with a simple goal: Rinse and repeat to get some revenge.

“Everybody knows that when we play the right way, the game is going to be fun for us,” said Jefferson, who contributed 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals in the win at Marquette.

Georgetown (5-9, 3-6) nearly earned two victories against top-15 programs this week but faded down the stretch at then-No. 3 Villanova on Sunday, losing 84-74.

Jahvon Blair scored 18 points, while Qudus Wahab followed with 17. The Hoyas took their final lead on a Blair 3-pointer that put the team ahead 67-66 with 5:46 to go.

“This was a game we had an opportunity to win,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. “They’re a good team, very well coached, but we’re right there.”

Georgetown has won two of three after starting the season 3-8, all while navigating a lengthy midseason pause related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ewing likened the Hoyas’ recent jelling to mastering a gumbo recipe.

“The gumbo is finally starting to taste right,” Ewing said. “I’m putting in all the right ingredients right now for that gumbo to taste right.”

Creighton scored a season-best 19 second-chance points against Marquette, which nearly rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit. The Bluejays held on for a 71-68 win, and Golden Eagles coach Steve Wojciechowski cited Creighton’s consistent effort as a difference.

“They were the first to the ball and they took advantage of that,” Wojciechowski said. “Obviously that was a huge key to the game.”

Creighton took Thursday off from its usual practice regimen and held what the team called a “mental day,” taking time to discuss goals and the ways to best utilize their skill sets.

Blair scored 22 points and Chudier Bile scored 15 of his 17 after halftime to boost the visiting Hoyas to an 86-79 victory against the Bluejays in the first meeting last Wednesday. Georgetown shot 50 percent while swishing 10 3-pointers.

Ewing said after the game that while he wasn’t sure if it classified as his best win at the helm of his alma mater, he “loved it” nonetheless.

“We beat a ranked team, a great team, and they’re very well-coached and we didn’t back down,” Ewing said. “They made runs at us, but we didn’t let go of the rope. We kept on fighting and were able to come away with a huge win on the road.”

–Field Level Media

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