Providence tops Creighton 65-58 for Big East title
By Associated Press
Providence celebrates after an NCAA college basketball game against Creighton in the final of the Big East Conference men's tournament Saturday, March 15, 2014, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Providence won 65-58. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
NEW YORK -
Bryce Cotton scored 23 points and Providence won its first Big East tournament title since 1994 with a great defensive effort against Doug McDermott and No. 14 Creighton in a 65-58 victory Saturday night.
The fourth-seeded Friars (23-11) used a 2/3 zone to hold the second-seeded Bluejays (26-7) 24 points below their season average and to an 8-for-30 effort from behind the 3-point line.
Cotton, the senior guard who finished second to McDermott in the conference scoring but was also a unanimous first-team All-Big East selection, was the scoring star in the championship game and he was selected the tournament MVP.
McDermott, who came in leading the nation in scoring with 26.5 average, finished 10 for 19 from the field, including 5 of 12 from 3-point range, for 27 points. He shined in his first two Big East tournament games, getting 35 in the quarterfinals against DePaul and 32 in the semifinal win over Xavier.
He had nine points at halftime as Providence held the Bluejays to a season-low 17 points in taking a nine-point lead.
The Friars led by 12 points twice in the second half, the last time at 45-33 on a jumper by Kadeem Batts with 12:47 left.
The Bluejays got as close as 58-56 on McDermott's fifth and final 3 with 1:18 to play.
But the Friars held on from the free throw line, going 8 for 8 over the final 2:47 while scoring just one from the field.