Big East Weekend Wrap: Vol. III

Posted by Justin Kundrat on December 8th, 2014

The Big East Weekend Wrap will cover news and notes from the weekend’s games.

Another week of games, another week of wins for the Big East. As we move into the last few weeks of the non-conference schedule, these games gain additional significance; they represent a team’s last few chances to stockpile resume-enhancing wins before the conference gauntlet begins. A number of Big East teams were able to do just that last week. Below is a list of four key takeaways from the past week of action.

St. John's Stunned Syracuse in the Carrier Dome on Saturday (credit:

St. John’s Stunned Syracuse in the Carrier Dome on Saturday (credit:

St. John’s steals a win at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse rarely goes down easy at the Carrier Dome, but the Orange’s streak of 55 consecutive non-conference home game victories came to an end on Saturday as D’Angelo Harrison and Phil Greene IV taught the Orange a few things about three-point shooting. In the past, the Johnnies had seemingly always managed to lose these key games down the stretch by way of turnovers or poor shot selection. But this time, the more experienced group played under control and found ways to score over the 2-3 zone inside. While Harrison paced the team throughout the game, hitting timely threes or mid-range shots, it was Greene who helped to close it out, scoring 11 points in the final 4:08 of action. Forwards Chris Obekpa and Sir’Dominic Pointer were largely neutralized on the offensive end, but Harrison and Greene converted with stunning efficiency, combining for a white-hot 8-of-14 shooting night from beyond the arc. After failing to capitalize on their chance to take down Gonzaga, St. John’s made the most of its chance this time around. The historically volatile group of unbelievably athletic guards and forwards seems to be calming down and coming together this season, at long last.

Creighton fans are in for a stressful season. With a roster full of potent three-point shooters, it should come as no surprise that Greg McDermott has built his offensive game plan around the long ball. The Bluejays rank 22nd in three-point shots attempted as a fraction of total field goal attempts, which spells boom or bust for most any team. This past week was a perfect display of this strategy’s benefits and pitfalls. On Wednesday night, the Jays shot 6-of-20 from deep against an average defensive team in Tulsa. Needless to say, they lost the game by failing to establish Will Artino as an inside presence. But the story was remarkably different on Sunday at Nebraska: Creighton shot 10-of-23 from three with four different players making at least two shots from beyond the arc. Led by none other than Austin Chatman, who contributed his usual stat-stuffing 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Creighton looked unstoppable on the offensive end. So after losses to Mississippi (#75) and Tulsa (#70), but wins over Oklahoma (#17) and Nebraska (#40), many fans are left asking which team is the real Creighton. The answer can be found in the team’s three-point shooting percentage on any given night. With a less than stellar defense, Creighton will need all the firepower it can muster this season.

LaDontae Henton and Providence dropped the ball. Going into Chestnut Hill to face Boston College was far from a guaranteed victory, but the Friars had a golden opportunity to pick up a road win and rejoin the Top 25. Instead, they flunked. LaDontae Henton, the Big East’s leading scorer at 19.8 points per game, ultimately scored just nine points and compounded his paltry effort by shooting 4-of-16 from the floor and picking up three fouls. To make matters worse, Kris Dunn and center Carson Desrosiers both picked up four fouls of their own, which has proven to be an ongoing problem for a team that rarely goes more than seven deep. If there were any positive takeaways from the weekend loss, it would be Dunn’s 24-point, six-assist stat line and Desrosiers setting a new career high with 15 points. But it simply wasn’t enough for a team that has become so reliant on the scoring of its senior leader. One bad night doesn’t make for a bad team, but the Friars will need to establish some other scorers moving forward in the event opponents are able to shut down Henton.

Marquette’s Luke Fischer will debut next week. The 6’11” center appeared in 13 games (averaging 10.0 MPG) last season for Indiana before deciding to transfer to Marquette. While he hasn’t yet proven himself at the collegiate level, his size alone makes him a vital addition for a Golden Eagles team that has been playing without a single player taller than 6’7″ (Steve Taylor). As seen in its loss to Wisconsin on Saturday, Marquette has struggled to keep opponents off of the offensive glass, so Fischer should see immediate time upon his return to the hardwood. Make sure to keep an eye on him in particular when Marquette plays next Tuesday (12/16) against Arizona State.

Justin Kundrat (175 Posts)

Villanova grad, patiently waiting another 10 years for season tickets. Follow Justin on twitter @JustinKundrat or email him at

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