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Arkansas Pine Bluff (2-7) at Creighton (7-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 17, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CenturyLink Center Omaha (17,390) -- Omaha, Nebraska. Television: FS2. Home Record: UAPB 1-0, Creighton 4-0. Away Record: UAPB 1-5, Creighton 2-0. Neutral Record: UAPB 0-2, Creighton 1-2. Conference Record: UAPB 0-0, Creighton 0-0. Series Record: Creighton leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: The Creighton Bluejays continue a five-game homestand to close out play in the 2013 calendar year, as they welcome the Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions to town for a non-conference clash on Tuesday evening.
Greg McDermott's Bluejays opened the homestand on Dec. 8 with an impressive 82-67 win over Nebraska. The victory was the second straight for Creighton, which had suffered its only two losses of the season prior to that with back- to-back setbacks to San Diego State and George Washington.
Expected to be among the top teams in the SWAC this year, UAPB has failed to deliver in the early going. The Golden Lions did win their first two games of the season, topping Tuskegee and Morehouse, but they haven't won since. The team's current skid reached seven straight losses last time out with a 77-63 setback to Oregon State.
Creighton has won all four previous meetings with UAPB by a 31-point average margin of victory.
A -14.3 scoring margin is telling in terms of Arkansas Pine Bluff's struggles this season. The Golden Lions have really had issues defensively, allowing foes to net 75.7 ppg on an efficient 50.1 percent shooting. The problem is magnified by UAPB's inefficient shooting (.403), as the Lions are usually unable to keep pace. Forward Davon Haynes is the team's top scorer and rebounder, averaging 13.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Guard Tevin Hammonds is next in the scoring column at 11.1 ppg, while serving as the team's primary distributor (4.1 apg). The scoring pool dries up fast after that however, with Daniel Broughton representing the next best option at a mere 7.0 ppg.
The Golden Lions shot a decent .462 from the floor against Oregon State last time out, but turned the ball over 18 times, resulting in 24 points for the Beavers. Haynes once again led the way for UAPB with 18 points. DAndre McIntyre came off the bench to add 12 points, while Hammond just missed a double-double with eight points and 10 assists.
Struggling defensively is a reason for real concern against a team like Creighton. The Bluejays are among the nation's best offensive squads, averaging 83.2 ppg on .491 shooting. The 3-pointer is a big part of the Creighton arsenal, with 11.4 treys per game. Of course it helps to have First- Team All-American Doug McDermott leading the charge. The top returning scorer in the nation, McDermott is at it once again, shooting over 50 percent from the floor and leading the Bluejays in both scoring (25.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg). Ethan Wragge is a distant second in the scoring column (12.6 ppg) but teams with McDermott to give Creighton a pair of long range assets, as they have combined for 58 of the team's 103 3-pointers to date.
It was once again a case of too much firepower for Creighton, as the Bluejays jumped all over the Cornhuskers and never looked back. The team held an insurmountable 51-25 lead at halftime and put it in cruise control the rest of the way. McDermott knocked down five 3-pointers and finished with 33 points in the win. Wragge added four 3-pointers and poured in 16 points, while Jahenns Manigat tallied 10 points for the hometown Bluejays.
The Golden Lions lack the necessary personnel to keep this one close. McDermott will once again put up an eye-popping stat line, as Creighton should have this one decided by halftime.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Creighton 84, Arkansas Pine Bluff 53
12/17 10:37:45 ET