PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Providence men’s basketball team won its fourth straight game as sophomore Alpha Diallo (New York, N.Y.) scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Friars to an 85-71 win over Creighton in front of a sold out crowd (12,927) on Saturday afternoon at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. It marked the Friars' fourth consecutive win as they improved to 5-2 in BIG EAST play.
The win moves Providence (14-6, 5-2) into sole possession of third place in the BIG EAST.
Providence had four players in double figures as senior Kyron Cartwright (Compton, Calif.) finished with 20 points and seven assists, junior Isaiah Jackson (Gainesville, Fla.) scored 11 points and senior Rodney Bullock (Hampton, Va.) poured in 10 points to complement Diallo.
Creighton’s leading scorer Marcus Foster finished with a game-high 22 points.
Providence led 67-56 just over 12 minutes into the second half but a 7-0 run for the Bluejays capped off by a Khyri Thomas' three trimmed the Friars’ advantage to 67-63 with 4:54 left in the game.
The Friars maintained their four-point edge with 3:45 left but a transition three pointer from Jalen Lindsey (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) put Providence up seven.
Foster kept Creighton alive as his driving layup pulled the Bluejays within 72-67.
Diallo, however, sealed the Friars' win driving to the hole and converting an old-fashioned three point to put Providence up 77-69 with 1:25 to go.
The Friars held a 36-33 advantage to begin the second half but a triple from Ronnie Harrell and a Foster three-point play pushed the Bluejays in front, 39-38.
Providence answered as Lindsey buried a three and Nate Watson (Arlington, Va.) finished through contact off the pick-and-roll to give the Friars a five-point edge.
The difference remained five, 50-45, but Cartwright drained four straight free throws and Jackson came off the bench and swished a triple to expand the Friars lead to 57-49 with 11:01 left.
Diallo then brought the sold out crowd at the Dunk’ to life, driving baseline for a two handed slam before following it up with a layup off a feed from Cartwright to give the Friars a 65-56 lead with less than eight minutes left.
In the first half, the Friars’ offense was clicking on all cylinders as they posted a 55-percent mark from the field on 14-of-26 shooting.
Diallo got the Friars off and running as he scored six quick points to give the Friars an early 8-2 lead.
The Friars then used a 10-0 run to gain separation as Lindsey and Bullock connected on three pointers around a Bullock fall away jumper to put the Friars up 18-7 at the under 12 media timeout.
Creighton used the long ball to get back into the game as Toby Hegner, Mitch Ballock, and Foster all hit from the outside to pull the Bluejays within 22-19 with 6:54 to go in the half.
The sides were even at 29 with just over two minutes to play, but a transition three from sophomroe Maliek White (Richmond, Va.) and a driving layup by Cartwright helped give the Friars a 36-33 lead heading into the locker room.
Next up the Friars travel to No. 1 Villanova on Tuesday, January 23 to take on the top-ranked Wildcats at Wells Fargo Arena with tipoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on FS1.
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