The final non-conference road game of the season is here for the Creighton Bluejays as they prepare to make the trip to Oklahoma to tangle with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane tonight at the Reynolds Center.
Creighton, which is scheduled to begin Missouri Valley Conference play three days after Christmas against Missouri State at home, is coming off a convincing 97-62 blowout of Houston Baptist on Saturday at home. The victory was the eighth in nine tries for the program and followed up their lone loss thus far, an 80-71 decision versus Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia nine days ago.
As for the Golden Hurricane, the team was recently suffering from a four-game slide and had dropped six of seven decisions after opening 2011-12 with three straight wins. On Saturday, the program got back into the win column, although it wasn't without a fight as they produced an 80-75 overtime victory against Texas-Arlington at home.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, Tulsa leads by a mark of 43-32, although the Jays won the most recent meeting back in 2000 by an 86-76 final.
Creighton had some issues from three-point range against Houston Baptist, making just 7-of-28 attempts, but the Jays made up for it by outscoring the visitors by a 28-5 margin at the free-throw line in the 35-point triumph. Doug McDermott led the way on offense with 25 points, followed by Gregory Echenique who recorded a double-double consisting of 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds as the Jays crushed the opponents on the glass, 56-36. Essentially clearing the bench in the meeting, Creighton also got 1 points and eight rebounds in a mere 15 minutes from Ethan Wragge as well. On a team that is scoring a whopping 86.3 ppg, one of the top marks in all of college basketball, McDermott finds himself as the only double-digit scorer oddly enough, although his 24.1 ppg is good enough for a couple of players. He has been tough to guard in almost every matchup because he is equally potent from three-point range (55.3 percent) as he is in the paint (8.8 rpg) and that is a rare combination indeed. As a whole, Creighton is converting 50.8 percent from the floor and 43.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Five players scored in double figures for the Golden Hurricane over the weekend, but still the team had to go to overtime in order to capture the win against UT-Arlington. Steven Idlet and Scottie Haralson both provided 15 points for the hosts, the former also clearing nine rebounds to lead in that department, while Jordan Clarkson overcame six turnovers by posting 14 points and eight boards, followed by Eric McClellen and Tim Peete with 12 and 11 points, respectively. The team turned the ball over a total of 24 times, but made up for that somewhat with a 31-17 scoring advantage at the free-throw line. Even though he is shooting just 38.7 percent from the field and 28.2 percent behind the three-point line, Clarkson remains the team's top scorer with his 15.5 ppg, followed by Haralson (12.5 ppg) and Idlet (10.5 ppg) as the group produces a modest 65.9 ppg. Luckily, the defense has managed to hold down the opposition for the most part, permitting just 63.3 ppg.