Providence boosts NCAA bid with 78-73 win over No. 8 Creighton in Big East quarterfinal

Estimated read time 3 min read

NEW YORK (AP) — Devin Carter had 22 points and 11 rebounds as Providence secured a huge victory for its postseason resume, holding off No. 8 Creighton 78-73 in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals Thursday night.

Josh Oduro added 17 points and nine boards for the seventh-seeded Friars (21-12), who recovered in the final five-plus minutes after squandering a 13-point lead in the second half. They will face 10th-ranked and third-seeded Marquette or No. 6 seed Villanova in the second semifinal Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Jayden Pierre had 15 points and seven assists for Providence, hitting several clutch shots down the stretch before Carter — the Big East Player of the Year — salted away the win with a late drive and four free throws in the last 1:40.

Ryan Kalkbrenner had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the second-seeded Bluejays (23-9), still likely to receive a high seed in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday. Trey Alexander also scored 19, while Baylor Scheierman added 16 points and 13 boards. Steven Ashworth finished with 16 points as well.

Creighton made its first 20 free throws before missing three in a row late, which hurt. The Bluejays had won three straight and seven of eight.

Providence was 14 for 14 at the foul line.

After trailing 53-40 with under 14 minutes left, the Bluejays put together a 13-2 spurt and grabbed their first lead since midway through the first half when Alexander’s short jumper put them ahead 64-63 with 5:35 remaining.

Pierre put the Friars back in front with two free throws, and the teams went back and forth down the stretch. Pierre’s 3-pointer put Providence ahead for good, 70-68, with 3:35 remaining. Carter’s drive made it a four-point advantage, and Oduro’s bank shot extended the margin to 74-68 with 54 seconds to play.

Carter went 4 for 4 at the foul line in the final minute to seal it, delighting a Providence-partisan crowd at sold-out MSG.

Providence, which beat No. 10 seed Georgetown 74-56 in the first round Wednesday night, had lost three of four entering the tournament and was sitting squarely on the NCAA bubble. But the Friars’ case for an at-large bid keeps getting better — this was their sixth Quad 1 win of the season.

Providence coach Kim English was whistled for a technical foul early in the game when he grew enraged at an official for calling a foul on Carter as he deflected a 3-point attempt by Creighton.

Shouting and cursing at the referees, English was restrained by his assistants along the sideline. Creighton made all five free throws awarded to open a 13-6 lead, but the Friars responded with a 12-0 run later in the half to build a nine-point advantage of their own.

Carter had 11 points and seven rebounds as Providence went into halftime with a 33-30 edge.


Providence split two regular-season meetings with Marquette and lost both games to Villanova.


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