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LINKS: Creighton Comes to Capital One

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‘Baby blue’ for DC—Bluejays may struggle on defense this season, but McDermott’s teams embrace Hoyas’ pace...

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgetown Hoyas (12-6, 2-3) will host the Creighton Bluejays (10-8, 1-4) on Monday, January 21, 2019 at 8:40ish. Neither team is known for their defense this season and this game could be a race to 90 points, or more. While Creighton has struggled to come from behind in the Big East games this year, their top three-point efficiency reminds their opponents that no lead is safe.

Here are some articles and commentary for your perusal as you watch the temperature drop (and maybe some football):

Men’s Basketball Visits Hoyas on Monday Night | GOCREIGHTON

Creighton ranks second nationally in three-point percentage (.430), second in total three-pointers (218), third in three-pointers made per game (12.1) and fourth in field goal percentage (.507)...

Creighton owns six men averaging 9.4 points per game or more, including sophomores Ty-Shon Alexander (17.0 ppg.) and Mitch Ballock (10.9 ppg.). The duo have combined for 112 three-pointers this winter. Coming on strong of late is junior forward Martin Krampelj (11.2 ppg., 6.2 rpg.). He’s averaged 15.9 points and 8.4 rebounds in CU’s last eight games, leading the team in both categories in that span. Creighton leads the BIG EAST with 50.7 percent field goal percentage, 43.0 percent three-point marksmanship, and 83.5 points per game...

Creighton is 6-6 all-time against Georgetown, but is 1-4 in Washington, D.C., against the Hoyas. The home team has won five of the last six meetings.

Big East Basketball Rankings: Villanova rising, Creighton struggling | BUSTINGBRACKETS

Head coach Patrick Ewing’s team might not be eliminated from NCAA Tournament contention but it already seems as though they would need an extremely impressive regular-season run or a conference tournament title in order to go dancing...

Most notably, Georgetown’s trio of freshmen (James Akinjo, Mac McClung, and Josh LeBlanc) is playing at a very high level and the future looks extremely bright thanks to their performances. With those three roaming the court and a couple of experienced seniors in Jessie Govan and Greg Malinowski also playing a fair amount of minutes, this is a very dangerous team who can take down anyone on any given night...

...the Bluejays have [] lost four consecutive games, including two at home, as they have started to plummet down the national rankings. Granted, all of these losses came against teams ranked in the KenPom top-50 but losing four in a row is always crushing...

The Bluejays have allowed their opponents to score at least 80 points in each of their last four games and their conference-only defensive efficiency is by far and away the worst in the Big East (120.6 – second-worst is DePaul at 109.2).

NB: Hoyas should wear the teal jersey as Creighton will sport these “baby blue” uniforms... right?

Game preview: Creighton at Georgetown | OMAHA

...there will be times when Georgetown’s players try to hunt contact (James Akinjo’s really good at it) — the Hoyas have attempted more free throws than any team in the Big East. Defending without fouling has been a challenge for CU all year, but it’ll be critical Monday...

It’s not often that Creighton goes up against a team that moves just as quickly on offense. Georgetown definitely wants to run. Its average length of possession (15.0 seconds) ranks as the 15th-fastest rate in the country. And it’s attempting 28.2 percent of its shots in transition (second-most in the Big East), according to Hoop-Math.com. The Jays will have to be on the same page and ready to defend the moment the Hoyas gain possession of the ball.

Roster Table
Player # Class Pos Height Weight Hometown Summary
Ty-Shon Alexander 5 SO G 6-4 195 Charlotte, NC 17.0 Pts, 3.2 Reb, 2.8 Ast
Martin Krampelj 15 JR F 6-9 205 Grosuplje, Slovenia 11.2 Pts, 6.2 Reb, 0.6 Ast
Mitchell Ballock 24 SO G 6-5 205 Eudora, KS 10.9 Pts, 3.9 Reb, 3.6 Ast
Marcus Zegarowski 11 FR G 6-2 180 Hamilton, MA 10.8 Pts, 3.7 Reb, 3.1 Ast
Davion Mintz 1 JR G 6-3 175 Charlotte, NC 9.9 Pts, 3.0 Reb, 2.5 Ast
Damien Jefferson 23 SO F 6-5 190 East Chicago, IN 9.4 Pts, 5.4 Reb, 1.1 Ast
Samson Froling 31 FR C 7-0 230 Townsville, Australia 4.4 Pts, 2.1 Reb, 0.6 Ast
Kaleb Joseph 14 SR G 6-3 165 Nashua, NH 4.0 Pts, 1.2 Reb, 1.2 Ast
Jacob Epperson 41 SO C 6-11 210 Melbourne, Australia 4.3 Pts, 2.0 Reb, 0.0 Ast
Christian Bishop 13 FR F 6-7 205 Lee's Summit, MO 3.5 Pts, 1.4 Reb, 0.5 Ast
Connor Cashaw 2 SR G 6-5 195 Lincolnshire, IL 1.9 Pts, 1.6 Reb, 1.0 Ast
Jordan Scurry 12 JR G 6-2 205 Dedham, MA 1.0 Pts, 0.2 Reb, 0.0 Ast
Jett Canfield 10 FR G 5-10 155 Topeka, KS 0.0 Pts, 0.0 Reb, 0.0 Ast
Denzel Mahoney 34 JR G 6-4 213 Oviedo, FL 0.0 Pts, 0.0 Reb, 0.0 Ast
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 1/20/2019.

Morning After: Creighton Loses 81-66 at St. John’s for Fourth Straight Defeat, Falls into Last Place in Big East | WHITEANDBLUEREVIEW

But with a nine-point lead, 28-19, and 6:17 to play in the half, the Creighton defense surrendered something you really had to see to believe — 22 points in nine possessions, with St. John’s making nine of their next 10 shots... By the time Greg McDermott called timeout to try and get a tourniquet on the bleeding, it was too late; St. John’s had scored 14 of the game’s last 17 points to grab a 33-31 lead, and the Jays would never lead again. It eventually became an 18-3 run — turning a 28-19 Creighton lead into a 37-31 St. John’s lead — and was the defining stretch of the game...

While the defense disappeared, the Bluejay offense abandoned what had got them the lead in the first place. Over the final six minutes of the half, as St. John’s made the game-deciding push, CU went scoreless in the paint and never even attempted a shot inside the arc — their last seven shot attempts were all 3-point shots.

TBL: Jon Nyatawa - Georgetown match-up | OMAHA Jan 17, 2019 Radio show (video)

Creighton basketball falls at St. John’s for fourth straight loss; Jays drop to bottom of Big East | OMAHA

“Our margin for error is really, really thin right now,” McDermott said. “And we’re aware of that. We’re trying to do everything we can to plug the holes but there’s a few of them there right now.” Creighton’s flaws showed up even more without the 3-pointer. The Jays, who entered Wednesday second nationally in 3-point shooting percentage (43.9), made 11 of 35 3-point attempts (31.4 percent). They missed 7 of 8 to open the second half.

Their best scoring options — sophomores Mitch Ballock and Ty-Shon Alexander — combined to go 3 of 18 from behind the arc. They got good looks, McDermott said, but they didn’t fall. “Those are guys who are above 40 percent (shooters) on the year and two of our best shooters, and we need them to shoot it,” McDermott said. “Had we had one of them be a little bit better (Wednesday), I think it changes the game.”

Three takeaways: St John’s moves the ball, made Creighton work | RUMBLEINTHEGARDEN

Creighton found success moving the ball quickly and finding teammates open under the basket, but five minutes in, had only attempted one three-pointer. The Bluejays take nearly half their shots from deep, normally...

Creighton entered the game averaging 81 points per game, and the Red Storm held them to 66. The Johnnies, despite Creighton trying to run, held them to only a couple of fast break buckets as the team regularly got back on defense. The three possessions against the zone were effective for Creighton, but the Red Storm did not lean on the zone for long. St. John’s held Creighton to 31% shooting on threes; they were hitting 42% coming into the game.

#21 Marquette Basketball Preview Primer: at Creighton Bluejays | ANONYMOUSEAGLE

On the season, CU ranks #121 in KenPom.com’s defensive efficiency metric. Through two conference games, they are allowing 110.5 points per 100 possessions, the worst mark in the entire Big East. And not by a little bit, either. DePaul is second worst at 107.9 per 100 possessions. Think about it. Creighton has been so bad on defense in the last two games that DePaul is looking at them and saying “well, thank goodness we’re not you.” The Bluejays’ specific problem is that they can’t stop anyone inside the arc. Teams are shooting 53.8% on two-pointers against Creighton this season, which ranks #275 in the country.

Do Jays need a ‘pat on the back’ or a ‘kick in the tail’? Greg McDermott must figure that out | OMAHA

Some of the issues that have plagued Creighton all year — turnovers and rebounding, in particular — showed up in key moments against St. John’s. And now the Jays will be without sophomore starter Damien Jefferson for about a month. But the players will keep working and pushing to get the desired results, according to junior Martin Krampelj.

“We’ve got to put our heads together,” Krampelj said Wednesday on the Jays’ postgame radio show. “We’re one team — we’re losing together, we’re winning together. We’re going to figure it out.”

NB: flying into Manassas Regional Airport? Ok.

FLASHBACK 1/6/2018 - Blue Flayed: Georgetown Gets Clobbered by Creighton, 90-66 | CASUALHOYA

The contrast between Creighton and Georgetown was evident whenever the Hoyas gained possession Saturday. Creighton was prepared for Georgetown’s tempo and sent multiple defenders back as soon as a gray jersey grabbed the ball. The Blue Jays were equally prepared for the Hoyas’ shooting woes, and so packed the lane, ceding the outside shot. Georgetown wasn’t equal to the task, connecting on just 6 of 23 three-pointers. The Hoyas’ sets frequently stagnated, failing to open up a second option when a quick-hitting set failed to yield a shot. Georgetown’s wings and guards stood still off-ball, leaving Creighton free to hone in on the strong side.

FLASHBACK 1/27/2018 - Georgetown Hangs Close, Falls at Creighton, 85-77 | CASUALHOYA

This game was both frustrating and heartening. Frustrating, as Creighton went on a 16-0 run to end the first half, which Georgetown was powerless to contain. The Hoyas didn’t score for the last four minutes before intermission and failed to stop the ball as the Bluejays poured in points in transition. On the other hand, Georgetown punched above its weight for the remaining 36 points of the game, outscoring Creighton during those minutes (admittedly, a big “except”) and playing some of its best basketball on both ends since conference play began. And there were plenty of positive nuggets, like a breakout performance from Jahvon Blair (a career-high 21 points), an otherwise balanced performance, and a patient, determined comeback that ultimately fell short. Ultimately, that wasn’t enough to win, but perhaps enough to build on.