01.22.2010 / A Tough Loss and a Tough Schedule Ahead. From the Creighton Athletic Office, The Voice of Billy Bluejay.

The Jays faced a far too similar scenario last evening in Normal, IL as Creighton lost another sizable first half lead on the road. CU lead by as much as 12 in the first half and 10 at the intermission but the Illinois State Redbirds carried the second half by a 19 point margin to win 71-62.

"The primary focus is to keep the team's attention and to avoid falling out of the top 6 seeds."

In the first half, the Jays stormed out to an 11-0 lead before Illinois State knew what hit them and carried a 48% shooting percentage into the locker room. However, much like the loss at New Mexico, the Jays saw Illinois State storm out early in the second half and the shooting percentages that carried them in the first half failed them down the stretch. This, unfortunately, is a consistent and disturbing trend:  for a program that has prided itself on offensive efficiency and the ability to make shots from the field, the Jays have been consistently subpar from the field all year long and have been especially anemic in the final stretches of games.

Things don't expect to get easier on Sunday night. The Jays will host Missouri State in a nationally televised game on ESPNU. The Bears shocked many early on in the season as they ran out to a 10-0 start with wins over teams such as Auburn, St. Louis and Air Force. However, starting with a hard fought overtime loss at Arkansas, MSU is only 4-5 of recent and has started to come back to earth. The Bears are lead by sophomore forward Kyle Weems, with his 15 points and 6 boards a contest. Missouri State is still very much a developing squad, with just one senior in the projected starting five in point guard Justin Fuehrmeyer.  In his second year in Springfield, coach Cuonzo Martin has had the Bears playing fearless basketball for much of the year and that leadership will likely dampen the pressure of seven straight losses in Omaha for this Missouri State program.

At this point in the year, while the Jays would like to improve their seeding opportunities in St. Louis as much as possible, the primary focus is to keep the team's attention and to avoid falling out of the top 6 seeds. For that to happen, games such as this on Sunday at home will be critical to maintaining those goals.

Posted at 01:24 PM | Permalink
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