Despite the loss, am I crazy to say that I think more highly about this squad postgame than I did before? Providence was without All-Conference guard Jared Bynum and Pierre and Floyd Jr. were apparently game-time decisions. Add to that a desperate Creighton team who is now completely healthy and a packed CHI Health Center Arena, and this game had the makings of a potential blow-out. Regardless of all of that, Providence was in this game until the final minutes before Creighton was able to pull away.
Let’s get this out of the way now: the horrendous three point shooting, inefficient offense, and careless turnovers had more to do with this game than any complaining about the refs. Did the refs change the way they called the game in the second half? Absolutely. Did both teams get some iffy calls? Yes. But blaming the refs for a loss is an exercise in futility.
The bottom line is that Providence didn’t perform well enough to get the road win, and that is okay. It’s really tough to win on the road in the Big East. They were a possession or two away from making this one very interesting and almost pulling off the win. To me, that speaks volumes to the toughness and make-up of this team.
We discuss what went wrong and what the Friars need to improve on moving forward.
Revisiting Keys to Game
In the preview article (https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/01/14/providence-versus-creighton-the-friars-look-to-flex-their-muscles-on-the-road/#more-5750), The Crier and I both picked Creighton to win. We had our reasons clearly, and that was even before Bynum was declared out. The supposed illnesses of Pierre and Floyd Jr. didn’t help an already depleted backcourt.
Breed’s Play – Breed filled in admirably, but the loss of Bynum was apparent. Breed only shot 3-10 and dished out 1 assist. In a game like this one, Providence needed another scorer, and Breed couldn’t ring the bell . He had trouble facilitating, but that was more so due to McDermott’s stellar game-planning (more to come on that).
The Providence Friars may suffer in the short term with Bynum out, but they’ll be better for this long-term with Breed getting starting minutes. Once Bynum is healthy, Providence can rely on Breed to be a super-sub of sorts. I’m always one to look ahead, and these valuable minutes are going to help in March and next year when he takes on a starting spot in the backcourt.
PC Big Men Performance – Croswell poured in 10 and 10, but I fear that McDermott provided a blueprint for the rest of the Big East on how to defend these Friars.
The Friars have made their money in the Big East attacking the rim and finishing or getting a foul call. In this one, McDermott brilliantly told Kalkbrenner to sag off Croswell and dare him to shoot the open elbow jumper. He didn’t even attempt to shoot these open looks, which is concerning.
By deploying this defense, Kalkbrenner was able to provide help D when another Friar penetrated, and he didn’t have to worry about Croswell punishing him with made open jumpers. This is something I’ll be watching moving forward because this type of defense clogs up the paint for the other Friars. Not everybody has a Kalkbrenner on their roster, but providing early help on drives throws a wrench into PC’s offensive sets.
Clifton Moore provided 10 minutes, and I’m hopeful we’ve seen the last of his 3 point attempts. He also was the culprit of a few three balls made by Scheierman where he slightly sagged off his man and that to me is inexcusable. You can’t let that happen. I’d rather Scheierman beat the Friars inside the arc than outside.
Castro’s lack of progression has me a bit concerned as well. He has incredible length, but doesn’t seem to know how to use it. This upcoming offseason is going to be massive for him.
The big men off the bench didn’t provide too much in general, but I think that speaks to the quality of Kalkbrenner more than anything else.
Carter – Scheierman Match-Up – Scheierman was magnificent in this one, scoring 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists on 8-13 shooting. McDermott does a fantastic job of getting switches for his players, and he did this a lot. I was hoping to see more of Carter on Baylor, but McDermott did enough to prevent that from transpiring. Scheierman couldn’t do much when Carter was on him, but feasted when other Friars were paired against him.
Providence on the Glass – It didn’t seem like this during the game, but Providence had 15 rebound advantage over Creighton. More eye-opening is the 11 rebound difference on the offensive glass (15 to 4). That likely led to the comeback in the second half, but it didn’t feel as if Providence owned the glass like the numbers indicate.
Get Creighton in Foul Trouble – Providence accomplished this with flying colors. The second half run to get this game close was due to Kaluma and Scheierman being in foul trouble. The issue is that the huge first half lead for Creighton was built off Bryce Hopkins getting 2 fouls in the first half. Creighton’s 12 point lead was enough of a cushion to withstand the second half Friar run.
Kalkbrenner: More than Just the Blocks – If you didn’t watch the game, you’d see Kalkbrenner with 4 blocks and think he made quite the impact. That doesn’t tell the half of it. The box score doesn’t account for the 20+ shot attempts he altered throughout the game. He’s a special player, and I can only hope we have a big man of his caliber in the future.
Three Point Shooting An Issue – If you told me that Providence shot more three pointers than Creighton, I’d likely tell you we lost by 15-20. That just isn’t Providence’s game. There are a few games where Providence gets sucked into shooting from deep, and it rarely turns out well. PC needs to stay true to its DNA regardless of who they are playing against.
I said on our most recent podcast I expected 0-2 on this road trip, so I’m not surprised by today’s outcome. If they can go into Marquette and get a win to split the road trip 1-1, I’ll be thrilled.
On to Marquette!