Seton Hall (8-5, 5-2 Big East) was no match for No.7 Creighton basketball (9-2, 5-1 Big East) in the blowout Wednesday night.
No. 7 Creighton basketball hosted the Seton Hall Pirates in what we hoped was a highly competitive Big East matchup.
Sandro Mamukelashvili continues to be a problem for opposing defenses every game, and we’re seeing that more now than ever in conference play. While that is the case, Bluejays Head Coach Greg McDermott and the Creighton defense were able to execute a game plan to contain his playmaking ability and earn their fifth win in a row.
Jared Rhoden, Shavar Reynolds Jr., and Myles Cale are a trio of players that have helped the Pirate offense flow seamlessly to this point.
Takal Molson got the start in Wednesday’s game, and it was interesting to see how he faired against Marcus Zegarowski. He is the team’s lead scorer and passer. Zegarowski finished with 11 points, four assists, and three rebounds.
The Bluejays have a starting five that can give any coach a headache due to how well they move the ball and shoot the three-point shot.
Speaking of that, Zegarowski and Mitch Ballock are the best shooters on the team from out there, and you can’t say enough about the play of Damien Jefferson. He can score inside and on the perimeter, in addition to rebounding the ball well.
Creighton basketball came out strong and took advantage of the Pirates’ defense in the paint. They scored 10 unanswered points and made their first seven shots in a row.
Bishop and Jefferson scored eight points in the paint while Zegarowski and Denzel Mahoney knocked down a bucket a piece from the perimeter. The Bluejays were up 14-4 under 16 minutes to go in the first half.
The Pirates struggled to shoot the basketball early on but cut their deficit to seven, 18-11, thanks to 11 combined points from Rhoden and Mamukelashvili.
Midway through the first half, the Pirates shot 30 percent from the field and 20 percent from the three-point line.
Creighton basketball went into halftime with an 11-point lead 36-27, thanks to Jefferson who was nearly perfect from the field and perimeter. He had 16 points.
Rhoden was the high-point man for the Pirates with 10. Mamukelashvili had seven points, four rebounds, and two assists.
Midway through the second half, the Blue Jays had a 21-point lead, 58-37, thanks to their defense. They forced 12 Seton Hall turnovers and things were even worse shooting the ball.
The Pirates only made 13 shots from the field, and we’re 2-of-13 from the perimeter.
Creighton basketball handed Seton Hall its worst loss in 15 years with an 89-53 beat down. The Bluejays outscored the Pirates 52-27 in the second half and shot 62 percent from the field. Creighton’s bench was huge in the game. They scored 33 of the Bluejays 89 points and more points in the paint and rebounds than the Pirates.
Creighton basketball will play the St. John’s Red Storm Saturday at 11 a.m. ET on FS1. The Pirates go on the road to play the DePaul Blue Demons Saturday at 2 p.m. on FS1.
The Bluejays’ hot shooting start gave them momentum
It is always good when shots go down early and often to start a game. While the Bluejays’ offense excelled, the Pirates couldn’t knock down anything to get in a rhythm.
When you’re not making shots and the opposing team is exposing the weaknesses in your defense, that doesn’t bode well for your team.
At the half, the Bluejays shot 50 percent from the perimeter and this was due in part to their ball movement.
In the second half, the Pirates couldn’t do anything to stop them defensively and the Bluejays knew it. They earned every basket that went down and for a defense that can’t get stops, when it rains, it pours.
Mamukelashvili couldn’t dominate the Bluejays defense
He only had two excellent plays to speak of in the first half, and the Bluejays did a great job of pressuring him in the post to alter shots and prevent him from using his nice court vision to pass out for an open shot.
They made him uncomfortable the entire game which is what you have to do to a big man of Mamukelashvili’s caliber. He finished with 14 points and five rebounds in this game. That is not the kind of stat line he needs to have against a team like Creighton but there was nothing he could do. The Bluejays played excellent defense on him the entire game. They did what they needed to do.
The Pirates couldn’t do anything to stop Jefferson and Mahoney
Jefferson and Mahoney were a big reason why the Bluejays had success in this game. They had 28 points combined at the under 16-minute mark in the second half.
They took what the defense gave them on each possession and was able to knock down the shot to keep the lead.
Jefferson was on Kevin Willard’s radar as someone that he needed to stop defensively but the senior guard Mahoney picked his spots carefully and capitalized on his opportunities also.
They finished the game with 33 points and Jefferson was one point away from tying his career-high of 20 points. These two are going to be very important moving forward as Big East play continues.