Not only did No. 9 lose control of the Big East title race with their 75-69 defeat at Xavier on Saturday, the Bluejays also lost a member of their rotation to an injury. Redshirt freshman guard Isaiah Zierden went down in the first half of that game with a knee injury, and on Sunday evening the school reported that in addition to the dislocated patellar tendon he also suffered an injury to the MCL in his right knee.
Zierden has been ruled out indefinitely by the school, with an MRI scheduled for Monday in Washington, D.C. The Bluejays play at Georgetown on Tuesday night.
Zierden’s averaging 3.2 points per game on the season, but he’s had his moments during Big East play for the Bluejays. In Creighton’s 101-80 win over No. 8 Villanova on February 16 Zierden scored a career-high 13 points, and one week later he scored seven points in a 72-71 win over Seton Hall.
Creighton has plenty of depth and experience on the perimeter, with Austin Chatman, Grant Gibbs and Jahenns Manigat all being experienced contributors and Devin Brooks averaging 7.5 points per game off the bench. With this being the case the Bluejays will be able to account for the loss of Zierden, but his injury does result in there being one less option off the bench.
Trailing Villanova by a game in the Big East standings, Creighton needs wins over Georgetown and Providence along with some help in order to claim the regular season conference title.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.