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Marquette at Georgetown
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 11, 2017
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
WASH DC – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Luke Fischer is set to join some fairly exclusive company for Marquette, which needs a win Saturday at Georgetown to keep its head above water in the Big East. The senior is nine points and two rebounds shy of becoming the 20th player in school history with 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
Fischer, who started his career at Indiana, recorded his eighth career double-double Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough as the Golden Eagles fell to 6-6 in the conference with a loss to No. 21 Butler. For all the good Fischer has done on the court, the Golden Eagles aren’t that much closer to reaching the NCAA Tournament then they were in his first season in 2014-15, when they finished 13-19. Against Butler, it was a case of poor offense and not the poor defense that has plagued Steve Wojciechowski’s team for much of the season. The Hoyas come in off a pair of losses to Seton Hall and No. 2 Villanova, but their 6-2 home mark against Marquette suggests the losing streak will not reach three games.
TV: Noon ET, FOX
ABOUT MARQUETTE (15-9, 6-6 Big East): The Butler game was the perfect example of the type of inconsistencies that have hurt the Golden Eagles all season. Andrew Rowsey, a junior who had posted three straight 20-point games, was held scoreless on four shot attempts, while Haanif Cheatham followed up the 15 points and eight rebounds he had against DePaul with four points and two rebounds against Butler. “Our defense was good enough to win the game, our offense let us down,” Wojciechowski told the media. “Our decision-making.”
ABOUT GEORGETOWN (13-12, 4-8): While a bit of a long shot barring a scoring splurge or a deep run in the Big East tournament, Rodney Pryor has a chance to finish the season with 600 or more points, something accomplished only 11 times in school history. The senior, who eclipsed 500 points in each of his two seasons at Robert Morris, sits at 456 points and would need eight games at his current average of 18.2 points to hit the mark. Allen Iverson and Eric Floyd are the only players with two such seasons in Georgetown history.
1. Fisher is fifth in career blocked shots (140) and will likely finish his career as the top shooter (62.1 percent this season) in school history.
2. With 1,076 career points, Georgetown junior L.J. Peak had a chance to put his name among the school’s all-time greats should he return for his final season.
3. With a 10-point win in late December to open Big East play, Marquette drew even with Georgetown at 11 wins apiece in the series.
Seton Hall at St. John’s
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 11, 2017
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
NEW YORK – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Change) – St. John’s continues its topsy-turvy season Saturday when it takes on visiting Seton Hall in a Big East game at Madison Square Garden. The Red Storm, who spent much of the season rotating between winning and losing streaks, find themselves in win-one, lose-one mode heading down the home stretch.
None of this comes as a surprise to second-year coach Chris Mullin, whose team consists of 11 underclassmen and is led in scoring by a pair of freshmen. “You are going to have tough losses no matter what kind of team you have, but when it’s a young team, you can really use those to learn from,” Mullin, whose 38 losses as coach are eight more than he experienced in four years as a player at St. John’s, told the media. “They’re starting to do that a little bit.” The Red Storm’s most recent tough loss came at the hands of No. 2 Villanova, which means if their form holds true from the last six games, they are looking at a win against the Pirates. Kevin Willard’s team hit a stumbling block with five losses in six games, but have seemingly righted the ship behind the play of Angel Delgado with a pair of overtime victories at Georgetown and home against Providence.
TV: Noon ET, CBS Sports Network
ABOUT SETON HALL (15-8, 5-6 Big East): It will be difficult for Delgado to top his performance from the first meeting as the junior registered his first career 20-20 game with 21 points and 20 rebounds. The 6-10 forward has been on a tear since being limited to eight points and six rebounds against Villanova, averaging 18.2 points and 17.4 rebounds over the last five games. Delgado finds himself as the No. 5 rebounder in Seton Hall history and needs 75 to become the fifth member of the 1,000-rebound club.
ABOUT ST. JOHN’S (11-14, 5-7): Bashir Ahmed emerged a solid complement to freshmen Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett, averaging 16.1 points and 5.5 rebounds over the last six games. The junior guard had plenty of solid games this season for the Red Storm, but only recently is he doing it with any consistency. Ahmed, who set and tied his season high in shot attempts with 17 against Marquette and Villanova, is shooting 46.2 percent over the last five games to bring his season average to 39.2 percent.
1. The Pirates won their last two games despite getting a total of 15 points from Desi Rodriguez, who failed to reach double figures in two straight games for the first time this season.
2. Ponds and LoVett are tied for fifth in the Big East at 17.2 points per game.
3. The Pirates won three straight and four of the last five meetings to cut into the Red Storm’s 58-38 lead in the series, including 33-28 in Big East play.
Creighton at DePaul
When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 11, 2017
Where: Allstate Arena, Rosemont
CHICAGO – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Creighton discovered there was life after losing point guard Maurice Watson Jr. in the middle of last month following a late-January victory over DePaul. Coming off their third defeat in five full games without Watson, the 23rd-ranked Bluejays hope to rebound from another setback on Saturday when they visit the Blue Demons.
Despite losing Watson for the season to a torn left ACL in the first half against Xavier on Jan. 16, Creighton managed to hold on for a win in that game to move to 18-1 before dropping its first two games to Marquette and Georgetown without him. The Bluejays bounced back with a 17-point home win against last-place DePaul on Jan. 28 and a surprising victory at No. 21 Butler three days later, but they probably missed him the most last Saturday as the Musketeers used a late rally to escape Omaha with an 82-80 triumph. “It’s a disappointing loss. We held the lead a good portion of the game and then couldn’t finish,” coach Greg McDermott told reporters after Creighton went 11-for-21 from the free-throw line against Xavier. DePaul continued to fall deeper and deeper into the Big East cellar with its seventh straight setback – a 72-61 road decision against the Musketeers on Wednesday.
TV: 2 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT CREIGHTON (20-4, 7-4 Big East): The Bluejays, who lead the conference in scoring offense (84.7 points; 16th in Division I) and field-goal percentage (52.1; second) and rank second in 3-point percentage (40.2; 13th), sit second-to-last in the league in free-throw percentage (67.9; 235th). Marcus Foster (team-high 18 points per game) scored 30 points on 13-for-24 shooting in his first game without Watson, but the junior guard is averaging 14.8 points on 24-for-61 from the field in the four games since – a stretch that includes 5-for-23 shooting beyond the arc. Freshman center Justin Patton (13.7 points, team-high 6.3 rebounds, team-high 1.8 blocks) was limited to a career-low seven points last weekend but recorded a personal-best five blocks – twice rejecting two shots on the same Xavier possession.
ABOUT DEPAUL (8-16, 1-10): Freshman guard Brandon Cyrus (six points per game, 4.3 rebounds) has started to emerge over the last four games with averages of 11 points and 5.8 boards – making all 10 of his free throws over that stretch – and has been particularly efficient over his last two outings, going 12-for-21 from the field. Not including a career-high 32-point performance against Butler on Jan. 21 in which he went 11-for-18 from the field, leading scorer Eli Cain (16.5 points) is averaging only 12.6 points on 27.7 percent shooting in conference action. Billy Garrett Jr. (15.5), who became only the second Blue Demon to reach 1,500 points and 400 assists in his career last weekend, leads the Big East in free-throw percentage (91) for the season.
1. Creighton has won eight of the nine meetings since joining the Big East four years ago, and all nine contests have been decided by double figures.
2. DePaul leads the Big East with 7.8 steals but ranks last in the league in field-goal percentage defense (50.1) and 3-point percentage defense (41.8) during conference play
3. Patton, who ranks fourth in Division I in field-goal percentage (70.4), went 2-for-5 from the field last Saturday, marking the first time he failed to shoot below 55.6 percent in a game.