Creighton opens Big East play with 80-70 win over St. John's
NEW YORK (AP) Geoffrey Groselle is on one of those shooting sprees players have trouble imagining.
The 7-foot senior center had 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting to lead Creighton past St. John's 80-70 on Thursday in the Big East opener for both teams.
Groselle's last three games have him shooting 25 of 27 from the field (92.6 percent). He leads the Big East in shooting at 75 percent (72 of 96).
He was asked if he knew how well he was shooting again Thursday when he made his first eight shots from the field.
''I had no idea until somebody told me after the game,'' Groselle said. ''I'm just playing my game and shooting shots I know I can make and my teammates are doing a great job of getting me those shots. It's a good streak and I just want to keep it going.''
There were no long jumpers or crazy highlight-reel shots from Groselle. Just shots that keep going in.
''He's just showing what he can do when he's healthy,'' Creighton coach Greg McDermott said of Groselle, who has been bothered by injuries throughout his career.
Maurice Watson Jr. had 17 points and eight assists and Cole Huff added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Bluejays (10-4, 1-0). They have won five of six and got their first road win of the season after losing their first three.
''It goes without saying we're excited just to get a win to start league play,'' McDermott said. ''We started last year 0-8 in the league. It was almost February before we won a game and a lot of guys who played today were part of that.''
Malik Ellison had 17 points and Durand Johnson added 14 for the Red Storm (7-7, 0-1), who have lost four straight.
''We did some good things. We took care of the ball pretty well and rebounded evenly with them,'' St. John's coach Chris Mullin said. ''Overall it was just OK. Not good enough to win. Our pace and energy have to increase. In the first half, we hung in there then got worn down. It was not terrible, but it's not where it needs to be.''
Creighton led 33-29 at halftime and the Bluejays took their biggest lead with an 8-0 run that made it 68-54 with 7:56 to play. Groselle had the first four points of the run with a tip-in and two free throws. Creighton led by 14 points twice more and St. John's never got closer than 10 points.
Groselle had five rebounds and three blocks for Creighton, which lost road games this season to Indiana, Loyola of Chicago and Oklahoma.
''A win like this is huge for your psyche,'' McDermott said. ''We were 2-7 on road last year in the league. We played 35, 36 good minutes at Oklahoma, so we're making progress. It's one thing to talk about winning on the road and another to do it. These guys seldom give up more than 60 at home and we hung an 80 on them, so this is a step in the right direction.''
Creighton: The Bluejays scored over 100 points in their previous two games against North Texas and Coppin State. It was the first time for consecutive 100-point games since Jan. 29 and Feb. 2, 1966, against Idaho State and Memphis. Creighton has never scored 100 points in three straight games. ... Creighton lost seven straight New Year's Eve games from 1956 to 2005, but has won three of its last four on the final day of the year. ... Khryi Thomas entered the game leading the Big East in 3-point shooting at 66.7 percent. He went 0 for 1 on Thursday.
St. John's: The last time the Red Storm won a conference opener was Dec. 27, 2011, against Providence. ... Only four players on St. John's roster had ever appeared in a Big East game and that includes Johnson, a graduate transfer who played at Pittsburgh when it was still a member of the Big East. ... Federico Mussini went 1 for 5 from 3-point range, making him 1 of 12 from beyond the arc in the last two games.
Creighton hosts No. 16 Villanova on Saturday.
St. John's at No. 12 Providence on Saturday.