Saint Joseph's (4-1) at (11) Creighton (6-1)
Saturday, December 1, 3 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: CenturyLink Center Omaha (17,390) -- Omaha, Nebraska. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: SJU 3-0, Creighton 4-1. Away Record: SJU 0-0, Creighton 0-0. Neutral Record: SJU 1-1, Creighton 2-0. Conference Record: SJU 0-0, Creighton 0-0. Series Record: Saint Joseph's leads, 5-4.
GAME NOTES: The 11th-ranked Creighton Bluejays seek quick turnaround, as the welcome the Saint Joseph's Hawks to Omaha for a non-conference clash at the CenturyLink Center.
Greg McDermott's Bluejays opened the season red hot, winning their first six games, all by double digits. The win streak came to a close on Wednesday however, with an 83-70 loss to Boise State.
Phil Martelli's Hawks have jumped out to a strong start as well, with wins in four of their first five games. The lone loss came against Florida State in Brooklyn as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Saint Joseph's has bounced back with a pair of lopsided wins at home over Harvard (75-56) and most recently, American (74-55).
Saint Joseph's holds a 5-4 advantage in the all-time series, thanks to an 80-71 win last year in Philadelphia.
Langston Galloway led four Hawks in double figures with 18 points, reaching the 1,000-point plateau for his career. C.J. Aiken and Carl Jones both poured in 16 points, while Chris Wilson netted 15 points, while dishing out a career- high eight assists. Saint Joseph's shot a sterling .543 from the floor overall, bolstered by a hefty 14-of-28 showing from behind the arc.
The Hawks aren't putting up huge offensive numbers this season at a modest 71.0 ppg, but they are enjoying a +13.2 scoring margin. The scoring pool is deep, with six players currently averaging double figures. Jones leads the way with 17.7 ppg, shooting an even .500 from 3-point range (11-of-22). Galloway is second on the team at 13.4 ppg. Ronald Roberts (11.6 ppg) has been a force inside with a team-high 10.8 rpg. Aiken (11.6 ppg), Halil Kanacevic (10.3 ppg) and Wilson (10.0 ppg) provide more than enough support.
Creighton lost its first November home game since 1989, as the Bluejays had no answer for Boise's Derrick Marks, who netted 35 points, including 28 in the second half. All-American Doug McDermott led Creighton in the loss with 21 points. Grant Gibbs was the only other Bluejay to finish in double figures with 17 points.
Offensive proficiency has been a real strength for Creighton this season, with the team shooting an impressive .526 from the floor and .403 from 3-point range, en route to 83.0 ppg. McDermott, the top returning scorer in the nation, is at it again, shooting a healthy .533 from the field, putting up 21.0 ppg. Ethan Wragge is a distant second in the scoring column at 11.4 ppg, followed by Greg Echenique and Austin Chatman, who net 9.6 and 9.4 ppg, respectively.
The Hawks are poised for a big season in the Atlantic 10, but Creighton losing two straight games at home isn't likely. The Bluejays will find a way to get back on track and get a little revenge for last year's loss in the process.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Creighton 74, Saint Joseph's 68
12/01 10:40:18 ET