(16) Creighton (7-1) at Nebraska (6-1)
Thursday, December 6, 8 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Devaney Center (13,595) -- Lincoln, Nebraska. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Creighton 5-1, Nebraska 5-1. Away Record: Creighton 0-0, Nebraska 0-1. Neutral Record: Creighton 2-0, Nebraska 0-0. Conference Record: Creighton 0-0, Nebraska 0-0. Series Record: Nebraska leads, 25-20.
GAME NOTES: The 16th-ranked Creighton Bluejays face another tough test as they go on the road to battle the Nebraska Cornhuskers for state bragging rights at the Devaney Center.
Greg McDermott's Bluejays opened the season red hot, winning their first six games, all by double digits. The team also won the Las Vegas Invitational during that span with decisions over Wisconsin and Arizona State. The win streak came to a close with an 83-70 loss to Boise State, but Creighton bounced back on Saturday with an 80-51 rout of Saint Joseph's in Omaha. The Bluejays are unstoppable on the offensive end as they average 82.6 ppg on 53.1 percent shooting from the floor. Their opponents have managed only 63.4 ppg.
Nebraska enters the bout with a 6-1 record following its 63-51 win over USC on Monday. The victory was the second in a row by double digits and gave the program its best start in 20 years. Coach Tim Miles has guided the team to wins over Valparaiso, Tulane, and Wake Forest already just seven games into his tenure with the school. His only loss as the Cornhuskers' head coach came at home to Kent State. Nebraska is outscoring its opposition by an average margin of 6.3 ppg.
Although Creighton has won 10 of the past 13 regular season matchups between these schools, Nebraska owns a 25-20 all-time lead in the series. The Bluejays barely escaped last season's encounter with the Cornhuskers as Kellen Miliner's shot with 0.7 seconds left helped them to a 50-48 win.
Creighton dominated Saint Joseph's on both ends of the floor its last time out. The Bluejays shot 56.6 percent (30-of-53) from the floor and 47.6 percent (10- of-21) from beyond the arc. The Hawks turned the ball over 17 times in the contest and went into halftime trailing 47-20 after converting on only 8- of-27 field goal attempts in the opening 20 minutes. Star forward Doug McDermott netted 18 of his 23 points in the first half and center Gregory Echenique tallied 116 points and six rebounds. McDermott is pacing the team with 21.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest. Ethan Wragge is netting 10.9 ppg in just 17.4 minutes per contest off the bench, while Echenique is third on the squad with 10.4 ppg.
In its win over USC, Nebraska led by as many as 20 points midway through the second half. The Cornhuskers turned the ball over 15 times, but compensated with a season-high of 11 makes from three-point range. Ray Gallegos knocked down 6-of-10 shots from beyond the arc to finish with a game-high 20 points. Dylan Talley added 14 points but made only 4-of-15 attempts from the field. Talley still leads the team with 15.6 ppg, while Gallegos and Brandon Ubel are close behind with 14 ppg each.
Although the Cornhuskers are off to a great start, they will be overmatched in this one. McDermott has a rare playing style for one of the top scorers in the nation. The Bluejays' leader does not need to create his own shot due to the flow of the offense, but when he gets an open look he takes full advantage. Talley will need to cure his shooting woes for Nebraska to have a chance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Creighton 77, Nebraska 64
12/06 10:38:36 ET