Creighton visits Wichita State in key early MVC clash

The 21st-ranked Creighton Bluejays and the Wichita State Shockers will collide this evening in Missouri Valley Conference action.

The Bluejays enter this showdown with a stellar 10-2 overall record, but they need a victory to avoid an 0-2 start to conference play. On Wednesday, the team had a three-game win streak halted by a 77-65 setback to Missouri State in the MVC lidlifter.

As for Wichita State, it figures to play with a wealth of confidence today, as it has ripped off eight consecutive wins to move to 10-2 overall. The Shockers have won their last three games by a staggering total of 138 points, the most recent of which was a 90-51 thrashing of Bradley on the road on Wednesday to begin conference play.

Creighton owns a 52-43 series advantage over Wichita State, but the Shockers won the most recent meeting by a 67-65 final last February.

Doug McDermott has been among the best players in all of college basketball this season, as he has scored no fewer than 19 points for Creighton in 11 consecutive games. The frontcourt standout is posting 24.8 ppg on 61.5 percent shooting from the field, including a staggering 56.3 percent from three-point range. McDermott, who has also knocked down 83.8 percent of his foul shots, is ripping down 8.6 rpg as well. The only other double-digit scorer on the roster is Antoine Young with 10.8 ppg on 38.3 percent shooting from the floor, and he leads the club with 52 assists. Creighton is generating 84.3 ppg on 50.6 percent field goal efficiency, and the team is limiting its opponents to 69.8 percent shooting. In the victory over Missouri State, McDermott scored 19 points to go with 12 boards.

There is no question that outstanding offensive balance and stellar team defense have been the keys to Wichita State's impressive start. Joe Ragland and Toure' Murry are tied for the team scoring lead with 12.3 ppg apiece, and Garrett Stutz checks in with 11.0 ppg and 6.8 rpg. Ben Smith (10.7 ppg) and David Kyles (10.5 ppg) round out a group of five double-digit scorers for the Shockers, who are posting 80.3 ppg while holding opponents to 60.8 ppg on 38.4 percent field goal efficiency. All five starters reached double figures in scoring in the romp over Bradley earlier this week, and Stutz led the charge with 14 points and 11 boards. The Shockers shot 52.4 percent from the field while earning a 50-32 rebounding advantage. Defensively, they held the Braves to a low 25.5 percent shooting from the field.