Providence edges Creighton for Big East quarterfinal win

New York — Kyron Cartwright walked down the court in the final 14 seconds of Thursday’s Big East Tournament quarterfinal game at Madison Square Garden, stirring the pot like the Houston Rockets’ James Harden. The senior guard did a 360-degree spin, fall away jumper from the edge of the free throw line.

Cartwright’s final field goal in the game gave No. 5 seed Providence the edge over No. 4 seed Creighton with a 72-68 overtime victory. He scored 13 points while teammate Alpha Diallo had 19 points and five rebounds.

“That’s one of my moves that I go to when I need it,” Cartwright said. “I tried doing it in the first half, but it was blocked, but fortunately that time I was able to get it off with enough space to make the shot.”

The Friars will play No. 1 seed Xavier in the tournament semifinals. The Friars split with the Musketeers during the regular season series, winning 81-72 in Providence Jan. 6, while Xavier took the rematch 84-74 in Cincinnati Feb. 28.

Providence (20-12) head coach Ed Cooley appreciated the Providence crowd making the three-hour drive to Madison Square Garden. With an attendance of 17,647 at the venue, most of it was filled with Providence gear.

“Obviously being so close to home, from Providence, we have a bunch of fans and alumni who actually moved to New York and come to see us play,” Cooley said. “We have fans who travel across the country to watch us and stuff like that.”

Creighton (21-11) was led by Marcus Foster’s 19 points on seven of 14 shooting. The BlueJays’ head coach Greg McDermott knew that games against Providence come down to the final moments.

“I felt coming into this game that it was going to be kind of a rock fight,” McDermott said. “ It usually is when we play Providence, and today certainly fit into that category.”

The BlueJays’ shot the ball better than the Friars but were unable capitalize on Providence’s missed free throws down the stretch.

Foster could have won the game on the last possession in regulation, but his 3-point attempt was short.

“The last play is something that I always work on,” Foster said. “I was doing too much, trying to dribble too much into my shot. But I was looking for the step-back 3 like I always do, and I just lost it and we ended up going overtime.”

With the Big East Conference being a competitive conference, Creighton hopes to have its name called in the NCAA Tournament.

Providence fed off of the energy at Madison Square Garden but Cooley respects the Big East regular season championship squad in Xavier.

“We’re playing against a really, really good team in Xavier, and I think it is an advantage, but I think it’s more of how we play than just the crowd,” Cooley said.

Providence will look to continue its success in the Big East Tournament against Xavier at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

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