Evansville (14-13) at Creighton (23-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 21st, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CenturyLink Center (17,560) -- Omaha, Nebraska. Television: FSN. Home Record: Evansville 10-6, Creighton 13-2. Away Record: Evansville 4-7, Creighton 9-3. Neutral Record: Evansville 0-0, Creighton 1-0. Conference Record: Evansville 8-8, Creighton 12-4. Series Record: Creighton leads 25-10.
GAMES NOTES: Coming off a thrilling victory during BracketBuster weekend, the Creighton Bluejays will try to carry that momentum back into conference play as they host the Evansville Purple Aces in Missouri Valley Conference action at the CenturyLink Center.
Antoine Young hit a fade-away jumper in the paint with 0.3 seconds left to lift Creighton to an 81-79 win over a tough Long Beach State team on Saturday. The win allowed the Bluejays to put together back-to-back victories on the heels of a three game losing streak that dropped them out of the national rankings. The Bluejays finish the regular season with a matchup with Indiana State on Saturday.
One of the losses in Creighton's recent losing streak came to this same Evansville squad. Playing on their home court, the Purple Aces stunned the Bluejays with their first win against Creighton in four years. Creighton still holds the all-time series lead at 25-10 and has won 12 of the last 14 meetings.
Evansville has had a resurgence beginning with the win against Creighton, as the Purple Aces have won three of their last four outings including a 68-45 rout of Western Illinois in a BracketBuster pairing on Saturday. Evansville will also finish up its regular season on Saturday when Missouri State comes to town.
Against Western Illinois, Evansville controlled the game by knocking down 7- of-13 three pointers to go with 44.2 percent shooting overall and forcing 23 Western Illinois turnovers, while committing only 10.
Colt Ryan again spearheaded the Evansville offensive attack as he did a little bit of everything in scoring 20 points, handing out eight assists, notching six rebounds and collecting four steals in the win on Saturday. The junior guard is now scoring an even 20.0 points per game which is the second best mark in the conference. It is the second straight game of 20 points for Ryan after he was held to just seven in a loss to Drake. Denver Holmes (11.2 ppg, 3.5 apg) has been scoring well this season and managed 15 points in the win over Western Illinois. Senior swingman Kenny Harris (11.1 ppg) is the third player averaging in double figures this season but the Purple Aces needed only eight points from him in the win. As a team Evansville is the third highest scoring team in the MVC (72.4 ppg) but has struggled defensively (70.6 ppg).
Creighton trailed the entire second half against Long Beach State before Young's shot went through. It was a nip-and-tuck affair throughout as the 49ers never led by more than nine points. Creighton shot an even 50.0 percent from the floor in the game but were ineffective from three point range (5- of-23).
The Bluejays needed a monster performance from Doug McDermott against Long Beach State and the sophomore forward answered the call by pouring in 36 points and ripping down 11 rebounds. McDermott is currently the conference's leading scorer (23.2 ppg) and is second only to Illinois State's Jackie Carmichael in rebounding (8.3 rpg). The performance against the 49ers was the second time McDermott has scored more than 30 points in a game during his career. Young (11.6 ppg) was also stellar in the win, scoring 16 points while no other Bluejay scored more than eight points. Young is the only other player averaging in double figures for Creighton and has now scored in double figures in three straight games. For a team with only two prominent scorers, Creighton has not struggled to score as they are the top scoring team in the conference (79.9 ppg) while shooting a Division I best 51.1 percent from the floor. The Bluejays get so many good looks thanks to team passing which accumulates the second most assists per game (18.2) nationally, with Grant Gibbs (5.6 apg) and Young (4.4 apg) leading the way.
Creighton scored a season low 57 points in the last meeting between those teams. Evansville can't expect another poor offensive showing from the highly efficient Bluejays. Even though the Purple Aces can score well, their porous defense won't be able to keep things close for long.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Creighton 83, Evansville 69
02/21 10:42:57 ET