On Friday afternoon, I asked my wife what her predictions were for our WBR Pick ‘em game and the first thing she told me was, “I’ll tell you one thing, the Jays will score 100 points tonight.” I really thought she was crazy. After seeing Campbell take apart Iowa on Wednesday night about as well as Creighton did last Sunday, I thought they would be lucky to get their 75 points for free Godfather’s Pizza. She then spent the next three hours donating blood platelets for the Red Cross and the boys and I went on to watch the game.
To me, the game on Friday night was a big game. It had the aura of the trap game that Polyfro’s Primer pointed out–the Iowa game, the holiday with no students, the new top 25 ranking, and the image that this was a sure win. I was pretty convinced if anything that this game would be scary at least for the first half and the Bluejays would pull away. Instead it was the complete opposite.
Creighton came out and hit their first 13 baskets of the game and the next thing you knew, the Bluejays were up 18 points within the first 8 minutes and 30 seconds. But those Camels were pretty feisty and over the final 31+ minutes kept me on the edge of my seat as the lead fluctuated between 15 and 23 points. As much as the Bluejays were ahead, it was that opening domination that won the game and then the ability to answer whatever Campbell would throw at them. The Bluejays finished things off with a 104-81 win.
To be honest, I would be very surprised to see Campbell finish towards the bottom of the Big South this season. They were athletic enough, have enough scoring power and an amazing player in Eric Griffin where they could surprise some people. I’ll be paying attention when they play Virginia Tech and North Carolina State later this season. If they beat either of those teams, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Doug McDermott was pretty impressive again for the Bluejays tying his career high of 31 points. He scored from everywhere whether it was a layup, a three pointer, spin move to the left, spin move to the right, and hook shots. Then you add in his 11 rebounds and he just continues to impress. He now sixth in the nation at 23.4 points per game and all of those points come within the offense. It isn’t like he is out to score, which displays the team’s unselfish play.
Antoine Young and Grant Gibbs continue to be the dual threat point guards where they both combined for 23 points and 16 assists. There has been a world of difference this season for the guards to be able to get the ball into the post. Sunday against Iowa it was Avery Dingman, but against Campbell, Ethan Wragge calmly comes off the bench to nail 4-of-6 from three for twelve points of his own as five Bluejays scored in double-figures.
The Bluejays did score their 100 points and dished out 30 assists in the process. That is pretty impressive. Through the first five games, Creighton has been very unselfish as they have 116 assists in 163 baskets. Right now they sit first in the nation in assists per game. On top of that, their assist to turnover ratio is second in the nation at 1.87 to 1. Other stats also appear pretty impressive. They rank third in points per game as well as field goal percentage and first in points per possession. Just by stats themselves, Creighton is definitely a team that is fun to watch. In some of the past few seasons, there were certain times when I would cringe when there was a challenging situation or certain players in the game. This season feels totally different and I’m excited to see who will be the next to have a big game.
With these performances and losses by other teams in the top 25 this week, the Bluejays could go up a little higher this week. However, that puts an even bigger target on their back as they head into a big stretch of games starting at San Diego State on Wednesday as a part of the MVC/MWC Challenge. The Aztecs just knocked off a ranked Arizona team. I’m sure they are licking their chops with an opportunity to get another win against a ranked team. Then, next Sunday is the annual in-state rivalry game with Nebraska. Doc Sadler thinks he has a team that is one of the best he has had since being at Nebraska. By the time December is finished, a trip to St. Joseph’s, a trip to Tulsa and a home game at Northwestern will take place. Where will the Jays be at by the end of that stretch? After five games, this is only the beginning, but it could be a fun ride.