Creighton was the sure favorite to win the Big East title with the top scoring player in the country, but the Providence Friars had plans of their own, and upset the No.2 seed in the tournament.
After beating Creighton, Providence College has won their first Big East title since 1994. The league was much different this year without all of its teams that were previous contenders such as Syracuse, Louisville, Uconn, Pittsburgh and others, making way for new teams to take the stage.
With all of the changes that occurred in the Big East recently, Creighton was also a new addition, and was on course to win the first Big East title. They could have made it three tournament tittles in a row, after winning the Missouri Valley Conference title in 2012 and 2013.
Creighton is ranked No.14 in the nation, and has the top 3-point shooting team in the country, and as a result, Providence decided to play a zone defense, which worked in their favor. They normally shoot 42.7 percent from 3-point range, but was unable to handle the Friars’ 2-3 zone, converting only 26.7 percent from behind the arc.
Speaking on his idea to include the zone, Providence coach Ed Cooley said “I just had a feeling as a coach. Our players bought into it. I think if your players believe in it, then you should execute it.”
Providence took away Creighton’s 9-8 lead, and remained on top for the rest of the night. They ended up winning 65-58 in the championship game, which was held in Madison Square Garden.
The Big East tournament’s most outstanding player award went to Providence’s guard Bryce Cotton, who led the team with 23 points. Cotton played the full 40 minutes of the game, and he averages 39.9 minutes per game, and a wildly high 41.9 minutes in Big East regular-season play, due to an abundance of overtimes.
Creighton’s star Doug McDermott still came up up big when compared to how most players play, and led the team with 27 points. He has already won the Big East Conference Player Of The Year, and is a likely candidate to win NCAA Player Of The Year too.
Providence College defeated Seton Hall in order to make it to the Big East Conference Championship. Seton Hall had previously beaten the No.1 seeded Villanova, who is likely to gain a No.1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
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