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Creighton vs. St. John's Prediction,
Preview,
and Odds - 1-16-2019

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#783 Creighton
Bluejays 166
#784 St. John's
Red Storm -3

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 6:30pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Game Stats

Creighton Bluejays

10 - 7

7-9
ATS
9-7
O/U
84
PPG
77
OPPG

St. John's Red Storm

14 - 3

7-9
ATS
10-6
O/U
83
PPG
72
OPPG

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Creighton at St. John’s

When and Where: Wednesday, Jan. 16, Carnesecca Arena, Queens, N.Y., 6:30 p.m. EST.

Hoping to have leading scorer Shamorie Ponds back, St. John’s looks to avoid a third consecutive loss Wednesday night when it faces Big East rival Creighton.

Bluejays out to avoid first four-game skid in four years

Creighton (10-7, 1-3 Big East) comes to New York in desperate need of a win to jump-start its season. The Bluejays are looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak since a nine-game skid from Dec. 21, 2014 to Jan. 25, 2015, following a 90-78 home loss to Villanova on Sunday.

Ty-Shon Alexander hit six 3-pointers and finished with 22 points for Creighton, which again showed proficiency from deep by hitting 14 of 35. The problem is the Blue Jays again struggled defending the 3 as the Wildcats made 12 of 27.

The Bluejays have let opponents hit 37.1 percent of their treys, but that number has spiked to 45.9 percent (39 for 85) during their three-game skid. That has essentially canceled out their Big East-leading 43.9 percent marksmanship from deep.

“This is the Big East. This is how it rolls,” Alexander told Omaha.com. “We’ve got one of the toughest conferences in the nation. We’re just going to fight back.”

Alexander has been one of the most improved players in the nation, averaging a team-high 17.4 points while shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range. The sophomore, who has recorded back-to-back 20-point games for the first time this season, scored just 5.5 per game in 2017-18 as a role player.

Creighton has six players averaging at least 9.4 points, with Marcus Zegarowski and Mitch Ballock 1-2 in 3-point shooting percentage in the Big East at 49.2 and 49.1 percent, respectively.

The Bluejays are 1-3 on the road, with the lone win at Providence on Dec. 31 to open conference play.

Johnnies miss Ponds in loss to DePaul

St. John’s (14-3, 2-3) made a one-week cameo in the AP Top 25, losing at Villanova and at home to DePaul. But it was the loss to the Blue Demons, who have been perennial doormats in the Big East, that was the bigger reason for their exit from the national rankings.

Ponds‘ absence due to a back strain played a role in that 79-71 defeat Saturday. LJ Figueroa scored 23 points and Justin Simon added 20 trying to pick up the slack without their leading scorer — Ponds is third in the Big East at 20.6 points per game — but the Red Storm hit just 26.3 percent (5 for 19) of their 3-point shots, well off their season mark of 39.3.

“Anytime you take your best player off the team, it has an effect,” coach Chris Mullin told The Associated Press. “I thought we played OK. A little passive, I thought. We’ve just got to play through.”

Ponds, who has a team-high 36 treys while connecting on 40 percent of his attempts, will be a game-time decision according to Mullin. If Ponds cannot play, Bryan Trimble would likely get a second consecutive start after totaling three points, six rebounds and two blocks in 31 minutes while making 1 of 4 shots.

The Red Storm have five players in double figures, with Mustapha Heron (14.9 ppg), Figueroa (14.8), and Marvin Clark II combining for 100 3-pointers.

St. John’s had won its first eight games at Carnesecca Arena before Saturday’s loss and is 9-1 overall at home.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

This pick is made with the assumption Ponds will play and give the Red Storm a needed jolt after their back-to-back losses. St. John’s did not play all that badly against DePaul, but Creighton’s offense is an entirely different animal that can stretch the Red Storm’s defense and match their offense 3-pointer for 3-pointer.

With Ponds’ status still uncertain, the confidence in this pick remains a “2.” That said, if word breaks that Ponds cannot go, the wise pick would be to take Creighton given his absence would also give the Red Storm one less defensive stopper on the perimeter against the Bluejays.

Prediction: Pick: St. John’s -2.5

Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Again contingent on Ponds playing for St. John’s, Creighton’s offensive firepower on the perimeter plays into the hands of a shootout the Red Storm can win at full strength. The Bluejays have made at least seven 3-pointers in all seven of their road and neutral-site games and 10 or more in five of them.

St. John’s is averaging 84.2 points at home and shooting 40.7 percent from 3-point range. If the Bluejays play to their offensive — and defensive — potential, the Red Storm may need to get to 90 to win.

This line has accordingly dropped six points with Ponds’ status uncertain, so if you are betting this game, do your research accordingly. If Ponds does sit, definitely take the under. That said, the over does become a clearly better play if he does.

Prediction: Pick: OVER 159.5 points

Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73)

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is a freelance sportswriter based in Chicago. He has worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Can be followed on Twitter at @AlTruda73.

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