No. 21 Creighton opens MVC play against Missouri State

Long-time Missouri Valley Conference rivals will ranked Creighton Bluejays play host to the Missouri State Bears.

Back-to-back losses have dropped Missouri State to 7-5 overall, and the most recent defeat came last Friday in a 77-61 final to Saint Mary's-CA. Still, fans of the Bears have to take some solace in the fact that other losses this season to standout opponents such as West Virginia and Oklahoma State have come by much smaller margins.

As for Creighton, it is opening MVC play as a nationally-ranked team for the first time ever. The Bluejays have been ranked for four consecutive weeks, the program's longest run since 2002-03. At 10-1, the club has won its last three outings since the lone defeat at Saint Joseph's, and is coming off Thursday's 87-79 decision over Northwestern.

Creighton owns a 30-27 series lead over Missouri State, including 17-4 advantage at home.

Missouri State plays tremendous defense, limiting opponents to 61.0 ppg on 38 percent shooting from the field. The Bears are netting 68.0 ppg at the offensive end and have three double-digit scorers in the fold. Kyle Weems provides 14.3 ppg despite his 39.4 percent field goal efficiency, and he is tops on the roster with 7.3 rpg as well. Caleb Patterson checks in with 13.8 ppg, while Jarmar Gulley adds 10.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg. Patterson was the top offensive performer for Missouri State in the lopsided loss to Saint Mary's last time out, as he scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. Gulley registered 14 points in that affair, while Weems was held to 11 points. The Bears finished the game with a mere seven assists and were outrebounded by a 40-32 margin.

Put simply, Creighton's Greg McDermott has been the most impressive player in all of college basketball so far this season. The standout is scoring 25.4 ppg on the strength of 63.3 percent shooting from the field, and the fact that he shoots 57.8 percent from three-point range is staggering. Add 85.3 percent shooting from the foul line and 8.3 rpg to the mix and McDermott has been stellar to say the least. The only other double-digit scorer on the Bluejays' roster is Antoine Young, as he provides 10.5 ppg. Creighton is generating 86.1 ppg this season on 51.7 percent field goal efficiency, and the team is holding foes to 69.1 ppg. McDermott has scored no fewer than 21 points in 10 consecutive outings, and he poured in 27 points against Northwestern last Thursday. Young tallied 13 points and seven assists in that affair for Creighton, which connected on 52.6 percent of its shots and finished with 26 assists against 11 turnovers.