01.12.2010 / From the Creighton Athletic Office, The Voice of Billy Bluejay.
A cold and snowy evening in Omaha on Wednesday night turned quite interesting down the stretch. While Creighton came into last night's contest off their first road win of the season at Evansville, it would have been hard to say they came in on a wave of momentum, after splitting the Indiana road swing and still sporting a 6-8 overall record and a 1-2 MVC mark. Drake, however, was in worse shape. The Bulldogs came to Omaha at 5-10 with a 0-3 Valley record. For most of the game, Creighton kept the upper hand and was able to benefit from the continued strong play of Kenny Lawson in the paint. Kenny's 17 points and 6 boards, along with the strong contribution of Justin Carter's stat line of 17 points and 7 rebounds, helped fuel the Jays into leading for the majority of the evening. However, in front of the weather-thinned crowd, the Jays were never able to definitively put the Bulldogs away.
"Saturday, the Jays will be faced with arguably their toughest test of the early MVC season."
Drake was able to take advantage of a CU field goal drought that covered the final 4:29 of the game to be in position to tie or take the lead in the last seconds of the game. Up two with 10 seconds left, Lawson threw away a key rebound which allowed the Bulldogs two point-blank opportunities to tie the game. However, both Ryan Wedel and Josh Young missed their shots and Cavel Witter was able to get the key rebound and make his free throws to seal a 73-69 victory. Certainly, with the season that Creighton has had to this point, one cannot be too disappointed with a win of any stripe but it's still very evident that issues with consistent production from the field and key defensive stops persist.
On Saturday, the Jays will be faced with arguably their toughest test of the early MVC season. The Jays travel to Wichita State to play the 14-2 (3-1) Shockers. WSU is coming off a tough win at Missouri State on Wednesday night. WSU has only lost two games on the year, against Pittsburgh in Kansas City as well as a road game at Illinois State. Wichita State also has two wins against teams from BCS conferences, with a victory over a rebuilding Iowa squad in K.C. as well as a home upset of Texas Tech. The trio of sophomore guard Toure Murray, senior guard Clevin Hannah and junior forward J.T. Durley account for nearly 44 of WSU's 72 points a game. Also, one can certainly expect a hostile environment with a sold out crowd at the Charles Koch Arena. Even in a down year, the name that Creighton has built over the past several years still is a strong draw in arenas across the league. The Jays will have to show us a level of tenacity and execution that we have not seen in several weeks to pull off the victory. We will get a great chance to see if the opportunity to continue to learn and grow while still winning ball games over the past week will help drive the Jays out of their recent funk.
Do you have any early predications for the winner of the Missouri Valley? Post your comment now.
Interesting Creighton Facts
- Creighton's conference rival, the Southern Illinois Salukis, is named after the oldest known breed of domesticated dog.
- Creighton has produced 28 All-Americans.