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Creighton Loses Marcus Zegarowski (Knee) for Big East Tourney

Marcus Zegarowski, the second-leading scorer for the #7 Creighton Bluejays (24-7), will miss the Big East tournament after getting his right knee scoped after a meniscus injury. The point guard’s status for March Madness is unknown.

Creighton guard Marcus Zegarowski is defended by Providence’s David Duke during a game in Omaha, Nebraska. (Image: Marco Esquondoles/Getty)

Zegarowski suffered a right knee injury at the end of the Seton Hall game. He led the Bluejays to a 17-point victory with a game-high 23 points, including a perfect 5-for-5 from 3-point range.

Zegarowski, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, averaged 16.1 points and led Creighton with 5.0 assists per game. He hits 48.8% of his total shots from the floor, including 42.4% from 3-point land.

Zegarowski’s had a couple of huge games for Creighton this year. He scored 20-plus points nine times, and dropped 30 or more twice.

Zegarowski is the brother of NBA player Michael Carter-Williams.

Alexander’s Time to Shine

Ty-Shon Alexander, a 6-foot-4 junior, leads Creighton in scoring with 16.9 points per game. Alexander scored double digits in all but three games this season. He will be tasked with picking up some of Zegarowski’s scoring slack.

Denzel Maloney, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, averages 12.0 ppg off the bench. He’s Creighton’s third-best scorer and will also have to step up to fill the void for Zegarowski. Maloney added 16 points in the win over Seton Hall.

Alexander has drawn tough matchups all season in the Big East. Against Seton Hall, he did a stellar job limiting the output of future lottery pick Myles Powell. Alexander held Powell to six points below his season average in their last meeting.

Alexander played point guard during his freshman season at Creighton. He’s expected to move from shooting guard back to point guard. Then again, Creighton’s offense stresses positionless basketball, so it’s less of an adjustment than you might think.

“Marcus was a point guard, but we don’t really have positions,” said backup Mitch Ballock said. “We just have five basketball players go out and do what they do.”

Creighton Exceeding Expectations

Many prognosticators picked Creighton to finish in seventh place in the competitive Big East this season. Head coach Greg McDermott started the season with a couple of injured starters, yet the team still rallied to win 24 games and secure a share of the Big East regular-season title with a 13-5 conference record. With a #7 ranking, Creighton is the highest-ranked Big East team in the AP Top 25 Poll. Just a month ago, Creighton was in the bottom end of the AP Top 25 with the #21 ranking.

“When a group of people come together and they believe in each other and they have each other’s back, and when they don’t care who gets the credit, there are a lot of things that are possible,” said McDermott.

Zegarowski’s development is one of the reasons why Creighton ascended to the Top 10 in the country. In only his second season, he became one of the deadliest shooters in the Big East.

At the same time, McDermott is fortunate to have a player like Ty-Shon Alexander to lean on while Zegarowski recovers from his knee injury.

“You’re working on things, trying to move the pieces around to make sure that guys are ready to adjust to a different role, if that’s what it requires,” McDermott said after practice on Monday. “You have to be ready for that at any time.”

Creighton is fighting for a #2 seed in March Madness and will discover their fate on Selection Sunday. In the meantime, they head to New York City to play in the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.