Around the Big East: Week 13 (Basketball)

Story posted February 18, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Austin Groft

The Creighton Blue Jays claimed the Big East for themselves as they took down No. 5 Villanova. It was the best Creighton has looked all season.

Both Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Collin Gillespie were held under 10 points. The Blue Jays dominated the entire game shooting nearly 50% from the three.

Marcus Zegarowski had his best game all year with 25 points and five assists. He has had several games this season where he struggled, but when he comes ready to play it is hard for Creighton to lose. Mitch Ballock was lights out, shooting 75% from beyond the arc.

This is a wake up call for Jay Wright and Villanova. The Wildcats’ defense looked discombobulated the entire game. The Blue Jays did shoot the lights out, but there were still several lapses defensively. It is hard to win a game when your two best players shoot a combined 25% from the field.

Xavier has now lost two games in a row. The long COVID-19 pause seems to be taking a toll on the team. Zach Freemantle has been the only player bringing his all for the Musketeers. He had 30 points in their matchup against UConn and then 22 points against Saint John’s.

Greg Elliot gets the start for Marquette in its game against Butler. The change in the starting lineup seemed to be beneficial for the Golden Eagles since they got their first win after losing three straight. Elliot was the leading scorer for Marquette with 17 points.

Even though Butler has Aaron Thompson back, it still can’t find ways to win games. Thompson is a leader for their team and has scored only a combined 7 points in its past two games. The Bulldogs will have to find ways to get Thompson going.

James Bouknight, arguably the best player in the Big East, played his first game for UConn in over a month after dealing with an elbow injury. He scored 18 points in only 25 minutes. The Huskies looked even better with him and deserve to make March Madness this year. Bouknight will be a lottery pick in the 2021 NBA draft.

Ed Cooley and Providence can’t seem to  find a way to string together several wins in a row. Coming off the loss to UConn, the Friars will have to prepare for their last three games versus Xavier, Saint John’s and Villanova. All three of these will not be easy outs.

Saint John’s is emerging as one of the top teams in the Big East after a slow start to the season. The Red Storm are currently at their peak and it’ll be interesting to see if they can continue to perform like this in the postseason. Julian Champagnie will most likely win Big East player of the year, being one of the hardest players to defend in the conference.

Seton Hall has now won four games in a row. The majority of these games have been close, but they have been hitting free throws as a collective group to close out and win these contests. Sandro Mamukelashvili had 25 points and 11 rebounds in the Pirates’ most recent game.

The game to watch this week is this Saturday featuring Villanova and UConn. Be prepared for a close game but expect Villanova to be fired up after that loss to Creighton.


Austin Groft is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email him at atg5271@psu.edu.