Creighton (2-0) at Saint Joseph's (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hagan Arena (4,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: TCN-PHI. Home Record: Creighton 2-0, SJU 1-0. Away Record: Creighton 0-0, SJU 1-0. Neutral Record: Creighton 0-0, SJU 0-0. Conference Record: Creighton 0-0, SJU 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 5-5.
GAME NOTES: Two solid mid-major programs clash in the City of Brotherly Love this evening, as the Creighton Bluejays take on the Saint Joseph's Hawks at Hagan Arena.
With All-American Doug McDermott as the centerpiece of the Creighton attack, the Bluejays will always have a chance at a victory. That has certainly been the case in the early stages of this season, as Creighton has opened with a pair of lopsided wins over Alcorn State (107-61) and UMKC (96-70) at home. With four starters back from a team that won 28 games a year ago, Greg McDermott's squad is certainly a favorite in its new conference, the Big East.
Phil Martelli's Hawks went 18-14 a year ago, including an 8-8 finish in the Atlantic 10. However, another first-round exit in the NIT has left many wondering just what it will take to get Saint Joseph's back on track. Martelli's squad has certainly opened this campaign on the right foot, winning at Vermont in the opener (74-64), followed by a home win this week over Marist (81-62).
This series is all knotted up at five wins apiece. Creighton won last year's matchup in Omaha rather easily, 80-51.
Doug McDermott enters the season as the only returning First-Team All-American and early indications are that he has no intention of slowing up. In 51 minutes of action, he has already netted 57 points, for a cool 28.5 ppg. McDermott is shooting .579 from the field overall, including .538 from behind the arc (7-of-13). There is a big gap between him and the next top scorer on the roster, Ethan Wragge, who is netting 10.5 ppg. However, Devin Brooks, Jahenns Manigat and Austin Chatman provide depth with 9.0 ppg each.
McDermott was unstoppable in Creighton's win over UMKC, lighting up the scoreboard for 37 points, on 15-of-25 shooting. Chatman just missed a double- double with 12 points and nine assists, while Isaiah Zierden contributed 10 points in 16 minutes off the bench. Creighton led at the half 48-31 thanks to a 25-10 run to close out the stanza. Overall, the Bluejays shot a sterling .529 from the floor, including a 13-of-28 effort from behind the arc.
Saint Joseph's doesn't have a scorer the caliber of McDermott on its roster, but most teams don't. However, Martelli has a close facsimile in the form of senior guard Langston Galloway. The veteran sniper is draining 54.5 percent of his shots this season, including 50 percent of his 3-point attempts, while averaging 20.5 ppg. Senior forward Ronald Roberts has been strong up front with 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while freshman forward DeAndre' Bembry (10.0 ppg) has made an immediate impact.
In the win over Marist, Galloway led the charge with 20 points. Roberts (16 pts, 10 rebs) and Halil Kanacevic (12 pts, 11 rebs) both recorded double- doubles, as Saint Joseph's dominated play on the glass, outrebounding the Red Foxes, 47-26.
This should be a hard-fought matchup, with McDermott and Galloway trading baskets. However, if it comes down to offensive depth, it is the Bluejays that will win out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Creighton 76, Saint Joseph's 71
11/16 10:43:14 ET