Omaha, NE (Sports Network) - The 16th-ranked Creighton Bluejays put a seven-
game win streak on the line on Saturday, as they take on the Indiana State
Sycamores in Missouri Valley Conference action in Omaha.
The Bluejays have been impressive thus far, with wins in 13 of their first 14
games. The lone loss on the season came at home to Boise State (83-70) back on
Nov. 28, but the team hasn't lost since, including a pair of wins to open
league play, topping Evansville (87-70) and most recently, Illinois State
The Sycamores are also undefeated in MVC play at 2-0. Indiana State, which is
9-4 on the year, comes into this contest with a three-game win streak in tow,
including conference victories over Illinois State (77-75) and Northern Iowa
Creighton holds a 52-24 lead in the all-time series with Indiana State,
including wins in each of the last three meetings. The Bluejays have also won
13 straight over the Sycamores at home. Indiana State's last road win in this
series came in 1999.
The Sycamores have had their most success on the defensive end of the floor
this year, holding foes to just 65.8 ppg, while limiting them to an even 40
percent shooting. It's a good thing too, because the offensive production has
been less than stellar. Indiana State is certainly no juggernaut, averaging a
modest 68.2 ppg and doing so on only .423 shooting. Point guard Jake Odum
remains the team's top playmaker, with the ability to both score (14.8 ppg)
and get others involved in the offense (4.6 apg). Backcourt depth is found in
Manny Arop (12.8 ppg), while limited frontcourt balance comes from forward
R.J. Mahurin (9.2 ppg) and center Justin Gant (8.2 ppg).
The Sycamores outscored the Panthers 22-9 at the free-throw line, a key stat
in Indiana State's big road win at Northern Iowa. Gant led the team with 18
points and six rebounds. Odum was just 3-of-8 shooting, but finished with 16
points, as he was 9-of-13 from the charity stripe.
The Bluejays have had no such problems offensively, as the team comes in
converting 50.9 percent from the field overall, good for seventh overall
nationally. Creighton is averaging a solid 79.5 ppg, with a good portion of
that coming from All-American Doug McDermott. Creighton's star forward is
shooting 55.0 percent from the floor overall, including an even 50 percent
from 3-point range (30-of-60) and putting up 22.9 ppg (third nationally).
Gregory Echenique has been effective in the middle, delivering on 68.5 percent
of his shots, averaging 11.1 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game.
Getting the ball in the hands of the scorers is left to guards Austin Chatman
and Grant Gibbs who have combined for 145 assists thus far. As a team,
Creighton ranks 10th nationally in assists per game (17.5).
In the win over Illinois State on Wednesday, the Bluejays were once again
efficient, converting 52.8 percent of their shots, including 13-of-25 from 3-
point range (.520). Ethan Wragge came off the bench to lead the way with 18
points. Gibbs poured in 16 points and doled out seven assists, while McDermott
and Echenique finished with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
The Sports Network