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02.16.2010 / Creighton Heads to Northern Iowa. From the Creighton Athletic Office, The Voice of Billy Bluejay.

The Jays came into Saturday afternoon looking to make sure they were on the positive end of the breaking of the tie between them and Illinois State for third in the Missouri Valley standings. To some extent, the 16,209 fans got a bargain for their money with a game that was close the entire way, with 20 lead changes and nine ties, but unfortunately, the end of the game played out far too predictable for what we have seen all year.

"The most important point for the Jays in this contest is the need to keep pace in the cluttered race for spots #3-7 in the MVC standings."

The Jays came into Saturday afternoon looking to make sure they were on the positive end of the breaking of the tie between them and Illinois State for third in the Missouri Valley standings. To some extent, the 16,209 fans got a bargain for their money with a game that was close the entire way, with 20 lead changes and nine ties, but unfortunately, the end of the game played out far too predictable for what we have seen all year.

In the end, the Jays fouled preseason MVC player of the year Osiris Eldridge with 23.5 seconds left and down one on the scoreboard. Eldridge would split a pair of free throws to give Creighton a chance. After calling timeout, the Jays were looking to set up a shot for one of the wings to potentially win the game. Illinois State effectively took away the most logical option, with Ethan Wragge in the left corner. However, Kaleb Korver was able to get a great look at a three point shot to win the game from the other side of the court. Instead of taking the shot, though, Korver tried to reset the ball at the top of the key and the result of the play was a bad inside pass with 2.1 seconds that ended any realistic shot at victory and ISU made two final free throws for a 67-63 win.

Offensively, Kenny Lawson lead the way with his 20 points on 6-9 shooting (including a crowd pleasing three pointer in the second half), and Justin Carter made his presence known with 14 points and 9 boards. However, for all the positives seen on Saturday, the final result was much the same as has been seen throughout the year and Creighton continues to hang around .500 with a 13-13 overall record.

It will be quite an interesting evening in Cedar Falls on Tuesday, as well. Northern Iowa has the league title in hand and was cruising along with a 22-2 and 13-1 record going into Saturday night before the then 18th-ranked Panthers sustained a shocking loss in Peoria to Bradley by a 68-59 score. Making things even worse for UNI was the arrest on early Sunday morning of 7'0 senior center Jordan Eglseder on charges of driving while intoxicated. The University has announced that he will be suspended for the next three games, starting with the contest against Creighton. Eglseder was a large factor in limiting the effectiveness of Kenny Lawson in the game in Omaha and UNI will have to rely on the play of 6'8 Adam Koch and 6'6 Lucas O'Rear to make up the difference.

While the losing streaks against ranked teams on the road certainly come into play for Creighton, the most important point for the Jays in this contest is the need to keep pace in the cluttered race for spots #3-7 in the MVC standings. With the ground lost on Saturday, the Jays are not out of the woods for the potential to end up in the play-in games on Thursday night in St. Louis for the conference tournament. While the final three game stretch of games at Northern Iowa, at Southern Illinois and home for Bradley will not be forgiving, this team has put themselves in a position of needing to step up their game beyond what we have seen over the past month and a half to stay afloat.

The MVC Tournament is just around the corner, are you planning on going? What are your thoughts on the tournament? Share your comments with other Jays fans.

Posted at 01:12 PM | Permalink
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