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Creighton (5-2) at Long Beach State (1-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 3, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Walter Pyramid (4,200) -- Long Beach, California. Television: None. Home Record: Creighton 3-0, LBSU 1-1. Away Record: Creighton 1-0, LBSU 0-3. Neutral Record: Creighton 1-2, LBSU 0-3. Conference Record: Creighton 0-0, LBSU 0-0. Series Record: Creighton leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: Last season, Creighton won all but one game by the middle of January, but this time around the Bluejays have already dropped two decisions as they prepare to take on the Long Beach State 49ers tonight at the Pyramid.
Making the transition from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East, Creighton was ranked 20th in the nation last week after opening the 2013-14 campaign with four straight wins. The team moved the streak to five in a row with an 88-60 blowout of Arizona State in the first round of the Wooden Legacy at Titan Gym at Cal State Fullerton on Thanksgiving. However, the Jays fell to San Diego State (86-80) the next day, and then bowed to George Washington on Sunday, 60-53, in the final round of the tourney at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
On Monday, when the new Associated Press Poll was revealed, Creighton was no longer in the Top-25 and received just 17 total votes.
Over on the other side, the 49ers also opened the campaign on a positive note with a 71-59 victory over Hawaii Pacific on Nov. 9, but since then the team has fallen in seven straight outings. On Saturday at Washington, Long Beach State made it to two overtimes before being hit with a 92-89 defeat by the Huskies.
The Jays have won four of the previous five meetings with LBSU, although the matchup back in 2012 at CenturyLink Center Omaha was decided by just two points as Creighton came away with the 81-79 triumph.
The 53 points for the Jays was by far the fewest for the team on the early season on Sunday as they lost the third-place game in the Wooden Legacy to George Washington out in Anaheim. Creighton shot a woeful 29.6 percent from the field in the first half, including 3-of-12 behind the 3-point line as superstar forward and All-America Doug McDermott saw his run of eight straight games with at least 20 points come to an end. Not only did McDermott fail to reach that plateau, he also failed to score in double figures as he came up with just seven points on 2-of-12 shooting from the floor.
McDermott, who cleared eight rebounds, missed all five attempts from beyond the arc as the team finished 7-of-25 on the perimeter. Leading scorers for Creighton were Ethan Wragge and Grant Gibbs with 16 and 12 points, respectively.
Now shooting 42.5 percent on the outside, McDermott saw his scoring average fall from almost 28 per game to 24.9 ppg through the first seven outings. Wragge, who has connected on an impressive 52.1 percent from 3-point range, checks in with 11.7 ppg while Devin Brooks is responsible for 10.4 ppg as a full-time reserve.
Mike Caffey played 48 minutes at Washington over the weekend, scoring 28 points and handing out nine assists, but still he and the 49ers came up short in double-overtime at Alaska Airlines Arena. Dan Jennings added 22 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots for the visitors, followed by A.J. Spencer with 12 points and David Samuels 11, as both players pulled down eight boards on the afternoon.
Caffey, who scored only 13 points in the loss to Kansas State earlier in the week, remains the leading scorer for the program with 16.6 ppg, accounting for 36 assists and 16 steals, both of which are at least twice as many as any of his teammates through eight games. Jennings checks in with 12.4 ppg and is tops with 8.9 rpg, but put him and Caffey together and you have just 35-of-72 shooting at the free-throw line for a program hitting only 56.8 percent at the charity stripe overall.
Even though the Bluejays are still far from home and need to work their way back into the win column tonight, Long Beach State just might be the perfect remedy for an awful showing on Sunday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Creighton 83, Long Beach State 60
12/03 10:37:07 ET
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