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Providence goes big to down Creighton

by The Associated Press | January 21, 2021 at 2:23 a.m.
Providence center Nate Watson (0) hit 12 of 19 shots and scored a career-high 29 points to lead the Friars to a 74-70 victory over No. 11 Creighton on Wednesday night. (AP/John Peterson)

OMAHA, Neb. -- Nate Watson let himself down with his performance the first time Providence played Creighton this season.

The big man was better than ever Wednesday night, scoring a career-high 29 points to lead the Friars past the 11th-ranked Bluejays 74-70.

Providence (8-6, 4-4 Big East) won for the first time in four games and avenged a crushing loss to the Bluejays three weeks ago.

"I feel there was urgency," Watson said. "Creighton is a really good team. They didn't really have the size in there. I most definitely was aggressive. I stayed up last night watching film of the first game versus Creighton. I didn't like the way I played. I was 4 for 11, missing too many shots."

The 6-10, 260-pound Watson outweighs Creighton's 6-7 Christian Bishop by 40 pounds and 7-footer Ryan Kalkbrenner by 25, and Watson dominated all night. With the Friars playing through him, Watson went 12 for 19 from the floor and got Bishop and Kalkbrenner into early foul trouble.

"I continue to say he's truly one of the best, if not the best, post scorers in America," Friars Coach Ed Cooley said.

Creighton (10-4, 6-3) lost its second in a row.

In other Top 25 games Wednesday, Georgia Tech returned from a 17-day layoff to rout No. 20 Clemson 83-65 in Atlanta. Michael Devoe led the way with 22 points, while Moses Wright and Jordan Usher chipped in with 21 apiece. The Yellow Jackets (7-3, 3-1 ACC) built a nine-point halftime lead and pulled away after the break to hand the Tigers (9-3, 3-3) their second consecutive blowout loss. Aamir Simms scored 19 points to lead the Tigers, who shot 52% from the floor but were hurt badly by 20 turnovers. ... Tyler Wahl paced a balanced attack with 14 points and No. 10 Wisconsin pulled away in the second half for a 68-52 victory over Northwestern. D'Mitrik Trice added 12 points and Brad Davison 11 for Wisconsin (12-3, 6-2 Big Ten). Chase Audige had 16 points and Miller Kopp 10 for Northwestern (6-7, 3-6). ... Marcus Sasser scored 26 points, Quentin Grimes added 18 points and 7 rebounds and No. 8 Houston avenged its only loss with an 86-59 win over Tulsa in Houston. Sasser, who scored 18 points in the first half, finished 8 of 15 from the floor, including 6 of 12 on tthree-pointers. Tramon Mark had 11 points and six rebounds for the Cougars. Houston (12-1, 7-1 American) shot 43%, including 13 of 32 on three-pointers. The Cougars won their fifth in a row since falling to the Golden Hurricane 65-64 in Tulsa on Dec. 29. Brandon Rachal scored 18 points, and Keshawn Williams added 10 points for Tulsa (8-5, 5-3).

In a game involving SEC teams, Andrew Garcia scored 16 points, P.J. Horne made a go-ahead layup with 1.3 seconds left, and Georgia (9-4, 2-4) snapped a 14-game losing streak against Kentucky (4-9, 3-3) with a 63-62 victory in Athens, Ga. After a timeout with 3.6 seconds left, Horne got past his defender for an inbounds pass in the lane, bobbled it and curled in a layup. A heave by Keion Brooks Jr. did not hit the rim as time expired.

Georgia Tech forward Moses Wright dunks over Clemson forward Jonathan Baehre during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution via AP, Pool)
Georgia Tech forward Moses Wright dunks over Clemson forward Jonathan Baehre during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution via AP, Pool)
Georgia Tech forward Moses Wright, right, grabs a rebound against Clemson forward Aamir Simms during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution via AP, Pool)
Georgia Tech forward Moses Wright, right, grabs a rebound against Clemson forward Aamir Simms during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution via AP, Pool)
Clemson forward Aamir Simms grabs a rebound next to Georgia Tech forward Moses Wright during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution via AP, Pool)
Clemson forward Aamir Simms grabs a rebound next to Georgia Tech forward Moses Wright during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution via AP, Pool)
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