After a week-long break, the Jays return to the court in New York for a battle against St. John’s on Sunday.
Creighton took down the Red Storm handedly in the first match-up between the two teams this year, winning 94-82 on Feb. 8. That game was the first win on the Jays current five game win streak.
Since then, Creighton has taken down three top 25 teams, with two of those wins being on the road, and jumped to No. 10 in the latest AP poll.
It’s Creighton’s highest ranking since January 16, 2017, when the Jays reached No. 7 in the AP poll, its highest ranking ever.
St. John’s is 3-11 in conference play, with two wins over DePaul and a win over Providence. The Red Storm is known for its defensive intensity.
They are averaging just more than 10 steals per game in Big East play, three more than the second best team. As a team on average, they force 16.9 turnovers a game, while only turning the ball over 10.6 times per game.
St. John’s turnover margin of plus-6.29 ranks first in the Big East. Villanova ranks second with a turnover margin of plus-1.29.
But, in the first match-up, the Jays were able to take that advantage away from St. John’s. Creighton turned the ball over just eight times in the previous meeting, with St. John’s having just one steal.
Protecting the ball will be an important aspect of this game again.
Another key to Sunday’s game will be rebounding. St. John’s grabbed 18 offensive rebounds in the first match-up and outrebounded Creighton 41-31. This allowed the Red Storm to take 74 total shots, compared to Creighton’s 58 shot attempts.
St. John’s also had its second-leading scorer go down to injury. The New York Post reported on Feb. 11 that senior guard Mustapha Heron would likely be out for the season. He scored 12 points against the Jays just three days prior to the report.
Creighton’s been rolling lately, but a week-long break could take some momentum away from the Jays offense. Along with the break, playing on the road against a team forcing almost 17 turnovers per game will always be a tough challenge.
The Jays dominated the previous matchup, but this one might end up being closer than some think.