San Diego State (3-1) vs. (20) Creighton (5-0)
Friday, November 29, 9:30 p.m. (ET)
The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Titan Gym (4,000) -- Fullerton, California. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: SDSU 2-1, Creighton 3-0. Away Record: SDSU 0-0, Creighton 1-0. Neutral Record: SDSU 1-0, Creighton 1-0. Conference Record: SDSU 0-0, Creighton 0-0. Series Record: Creighton leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The 20th-ranked Creighton Bluejays try to keep their perfect record intact, as they take on the San Diego State Aztecs as part of the Wooden Legacy at Titan Gym.
Now a member of the Big East Conference, the Jays rolled to a perfect 5-0 mark on Thursday as they dominated Arizona State, 88-60. The margin of victory was the largest since the team opened the 2013-14 campaign with a 107-61 thrashing of Alcorn State.
As for the Aztecs, they've gotten off to a solid start with three wins in four tries, having lost only to nationally-ranked Arizona (69-60) in the middle of the month. Since then the team has delivered a pair of victories, the latest coming on Thanksgiving in a 72-52 romp over the College of Charleston.
In terms of the all-time series, the Jays have won four of the previous five encounters with San Diego State.
Winston Shepard scored a game-high 15 points, leading four players in double figures, as the San Diego State Aztecs picked up the 20-point win over the College of Charleston Cougars in the first round of the tourney last night. Also scoring in double figures for the Aztecs were Matt Shrigley with 12 points off the bench, Xavier Thames 11 and JJ O'Brien 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor. SDSU opened the contest on 17-1 run and never looked back, shooting 56.0 percent from the floor and 5-of-9 beyond the arc in the first half, en route to a 37-21 edge at the break. The defense held CofC without a field goal for more than six and a half minutes.
O'Brien leads the team in scoring at the moment with a modest 13.5 ppg, his 67.7 percent shooting from the floor being far superior to his 58.8 percent effort at the free-throw line. Thames and Shepard check in with 12.5 and 11.8 ppg, respectively, and while the latter has managed to convert 51.5 percent from the field, he too struggles at the charity stripe (.579) where the team is just 63.0 percent accurate overall.
As is generally the case with Creighton, it was the Doug McDermott show on Thursday night as he turned in a game-high 27 points and pulled down six rebounds in the lopsided win over Arizona State. McDermott, who knocked down all 10 of his attempts at the free-throw line, did show a few cracks in the armor though, as he converted just 1-of-5 shots beyond the arc. Also scoring in double figures for the unit was Devin Brooks with 23 in just 19 minutes off the bench, getting the job done with a perfect 4-of-4 effort out on the perimeter.
McDermott, one of the most celebrated college players in the last several years, has led his team in scoring in all but one game thus far and is now averaging 27.4 ppg on the strength of his 52.9 percent shooting from the field and 84.6 percent at the charity stripe. Also responsible for a team-high 7.6 rpg, McDermott has found time and opportunity to connect on 44.4 percent beyond the arc where the team as a whole is knocking down 46.4 percent and is averaging close to 12 conversions per contest.
If the Aztecs can put together another strong defensive effort like it did on Thursday then they might have a chance in this meeting, but slowing down McDermott has to be a top priority.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Creighton 77, San Diego State 69
11/29 10:48:52 ET