Unlike last season, the Creighton Bluejays aren’t going to have to wait until the final day of conference play to find out whether they qualify for the Big East tournament.

With three conference matches remaining, the Jays clinched a spot in the six-team tournament by playing Providence to a scoreless draw Saturday in front of a Morrison Stadium crowd of 1,945.

But Creighton coach Elmar Bolowich said the fact they’re in the postseason has little relevance.

“At this point, that should not be enough. That should not be a standard or a measuring stick for us anymore. I think we need to shoot higher,” Bolowich said.

“I think we need to shoot for finishing first.” 

The draw keeps the Bluejays unbeaten in the conference, and they lead the Big East by three points over the Friars and Georgetown, which beat Seton Hall 4-0 Saturday to climb into a tie for second.

Providence carried the play for the first 15 minutes, outshooting the Jays 4-0.

But Creighton began to attack more consistently after that and became even more aggressive in the second half after the Friars outshot CU 7-3 in the first half.

Bolowich said both sides were unwilling to give a up a goal, and it resulted in limited offensive opportunities.

“Intense game, I think. Not a whole lot of clear-cut chances. I don’t think the goalkeepers had much to do, but it was a battle for the midfield,” Bolowich said.

“It was a battle for who has control of it. In the first half Providence maybe had a little bit more of that, and in the second half we had a little bit more of that. And in overtime we were just both tired.” 

The Jays (9-3-2, 5-0-1 Big East) held a 6-2 shot advantage in the second half and 3-0 in overtime.

Creighton defender Mitch LaGro said the Bluejays changed their tactic in the second half for when he or fellow defender Akeem Ward were in possession on the attacking end.

“I think (Providence) decided to sit back a little more, and also we decided to use the width a little more. We kind of put our wingers wide and built out from there just so we could have two options when Akeem or I get the ball,” LaGro said.

“So using that width kind of spread them out. I think they kind of had to sit back more and that allowed us to advance up the field and get maybe a little more of a chance.”

The change in strategy resulted in a shot on a wide-open goal by Sven Koenig in the 55th minute, but he hooked the ball to the left of the far post.

Koenig also had the best overtime scoring opportunity in the 104th minute with a header on goal off a cross from Ziyad Fares, but Providence keeper Colin Miller was able to come up with the save.

The Friars (7-5-2, 4-1-1) didn’t register a shot after the 53rd minute.

The Jays were without the services of midfielder Kuba Polat, who is tied for fourth on the team in points.

Polat received a yellow card in the 80th minute of Tuesday’s 1-0 loss at Akron for arguing with an official.

Then as time expired in the match less than 10 minutes later, Polat fired the ball at the official and hit him in the back, resulting in a red card and disqualification for Saturday’s contest.

CU remains home and will play Marquette Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Providence (7-5-2, 4-1-1)..........0 0 0 0—0

At Creighton (9-3-2, 5-0-1)........0 0 0 0—0

 Shots: PC 9, CU 12. Shots on goal: PC 4, CU 4. Saves: PC, Colin Miller 4. CU, Paul Kruse 4. Fouls: PC, 11. CU, 7. A: 1,945

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