You could have seen it coming. Creighton had the luxury of four straight home games in the CBI and experienced a lot of success and took care of the basketball. Going on the road has been a challenge for the Bluejays all season. Again they had little success as Oregon blasted Creighton 71-58 in game two of the College Basketball Invitational championship series.
Things started off on a bad note when Doug McDermott got his second foul less than four minutes into the game. Center Gregory Echenique commented, “I don’t think that has happened all year.” That seemed to take Creighton out of their game and turnovers took over. The Ducks forced 20 turnovers and turned those into 35 points while Creighton only forced 12 turnovers and converted those into 9 points.
Head Coach Greg McDermott was not happy about the turnovers. “Too many of those turnovers turned into easy baskets. That was our number one goal that we talked about before the game to not allow those pick six turnovers.” With Doug McDermott out early in the first half, Creighton’s gameplan was changed. “He’s our leading scorer and rebounder. Obviously, you saw what happened when he wasn’t in the game. He cannot get that first foul 94 feet from the basket.”
Antoine Young has been masterful with the basketball throughout the CBI. But tonight he had 5 turnovers while only having 2 assists and 2 points. “Tonight was just one of those nights,” said Young. “As a basketball player you have some of those nights when you are good and bad. I felt like I had a bad night and we have to move on from it.”
One change that Oregon implemented was doubling down harder on Gregory Echinique who tore apart the Duck defense on Monday night in Omaha. That changed forced five turnovers from Gregory as well. “We were able to hit a lot of threes in Omaha and that helped us get going,” said Echenique. “We will watch in film and see what it was, but from my view they doubled us more low.”
Echenique led the way with 10 points and 8 rebounds while Jahenns Manigat also had 10 points. Doug McDermott was held to 6 points and 2 rebounds while playing only 15 minutes.
Now everything comes down to game three on the same court that is a little distracting and the crowd that was fired up. Duck fans will probably multiply between now and Friday so there will be more fans there to cheer them on, while Creighton had probably 15 fans in Matthew Knight Arena total. The crowd was into it and loud.
“We stopped being aggressive,” said Young. “That’s not our team. We are always aggressive and we are always looking to attack.” The Bluejays will need to attack on Friday night and put it all out there. McDermott knows what is on the line. “We know what they are going to do and they know what we are going to do. We scrap it up and play. We are going to have to take care of the basketball, guard the dribble a little big better and we have a chance to win. If we don’t, it will be a long plane ride home.”
And a long offseason to sit and wait for that next game.