The Creighton men’s basketball team opens up their Missouri Valley Conference schedule with a road game at Illinois State where the Bluejays have yet to win on the road.
The Jays enter conference play 8-4 on the season, including an 8-1 home mark at Qwest Center Omaha and 0-3 record away from home. Creighton’s four losses have come against nationally-ranked BYU, at Northwestern, at Nebraska and in Des Moines against Iowa State.
Junior guard Antoine Young (13.4 ppg., 3.2 rpg., 4.3 apg.) has carried Creighton at times and leads the squad in scoring, assists, steals, minutes and free throws. Preseason MVC Player of the Year Kenny Lawson Jr. averages 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds on the season. He scored 30 points and snared 18 rebounds vs. Saint Joseph’s on Dec. 11 to earn National Jesuit Player of the Week accolades. Freshman forward Doug McDermott (12.6 ppg., 6.3 rpg.) was named recipient of the MVC Newcomer of the Week award each of the first four weeks this season. He’s been in double-figures in 10 of 12 contests to date, including two double-doubles. Gregory Echenique (11.3 ppg., 4.0 rpg., 2.3 bpg.). He’s made an immediate impact and provides the Jays with a huge boost off the bench.
Creighton averages 67.3 points per game while allowing 63.0 per contest. The Bluejays own an impressive 173/126 assist/turnover ratio. Creighton leads the MVC with 74.8 percent at the line.
Illinois State is 8-3 while developing a young team that has had to overcome the losses of standouts Dinma Odiakosa, Osiris Eldridge and Lloyd Phillips. Nine of those 11 games came at home.
Austin Hill leads the team in scoring (11.2 ppg.) and assists (2.0 apg.), while Jackie Carmichael averages 10.5 points and 1.6 blocks per contest. Tony Lewis leads the team with 7.9 rebounds per game in addition to his 7.8 points per game scoring average. Illinois State averages 64.7 points per game while allowing 60.7 per contest. ISU is +4.4 on the glass, but is shooting just 29.1 percent from three-point range and has a 130/149 assist/turnover ratio.