02.16.2010 / The Redbirds of Illinois State Come to Town. From the Creighton Athletic Office, posting by Dustin Sitzmann.
Coming off a disappointing game at Missouri State, the Creighton Bluejays really needed a bounce back game. What might have been great timing was the meeting with a depleted Indiana State team. But it seemed like the major difference was not the opponent, but what the Jays brought to the floor. They seemed to play with a much greater sense of urgency and a lot more fire than they exhibited in Springfield. One major issue that helps to give the Jays, and most teams, energy is simply making shots. A way to improve your chances is to share the ball and this was a major plus for Creighton against the Sycamores. Of the 25 baskets that the Jays scored on, 21 of them came with an assist from a teammate. None of those plays were more unselfish than the most team oriented player they have, Casey Harriman. On a breakaway with an opponent trailing, Casey could have tried forcing a layup and risk getting blocked. Instead he flipped the ball backwards to a hustling, trailing Kenny Lawson who dunked it and sparked the crowd. Unselfish ball movement and five players playing as one unit is what this team needs to continue wining games, and Casey was just one great example from this game.
"The Jays will need plenty more unselfish plays and team basketball as the Redbirds of illinois State come to the Qwest Center on Saturday."
The Jays will need plenty more unselfish plays and team basketball as the Redbirds of Illinois State come to the Qwest Center on Saturday. This is a critical matchup this late in the conference season as the teams are tied for third place and battling for position come tourney time. There have been a few key players for Illinois State that seem to have Creighton’s number the past few years. Osiris Eldridge is a very talented athlete, who leads the league in scoring, and always seems to save his best games for the Jays. With players like Osiris who can get in great rhythms, it is very important to keep him in check early and to make everything he does difficult. If he hits a few open jumpers early and gets his confidence up, it could be a long night for whoever gets the job of guarding him the rest of the game. In addition to the leader scorer, their big man, Dinma Odiakosa, will also be an important factor. He gets a lot of hustle points and eve more when the opposing teams big men step off him to help out on drivers. It will be important to prevent dribble penetration so Kenny doesn’t have to step over and for our bigs to box out to keep him off the offensive glass. Without these easy points in his repertoire, his game is limited and his effect can be minimized.
It is obvious the difference between the Jays road record and playing in the comfortable Qwest Center. The fact that it is a home game and they must protect home court, this adds to the importance of this matchup. With two very tough road games still left in the conference schedule, the Jays must take care of business at home. The way they can do this is by playing as an unselfish unit, keeping the key players for Illinois State in check and making someone else beat them, and lastly is giving the crowd something to cheer about so the players can feed off that home court energy! Go Jays!!
Can this team still pull it together in time for the MVC Playoffs? Who do you think will win the MVC Tournament? Post your comments.