No. 14/12 Creighton tuned up for Friday’s match-up vs. Wisconsin with a 105-57 win over winless Longwood on Tuesday evening at CenturyLink Center Omaha in preliminary round action of the 12th Annual Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
The win was the largest margin of victory in the 10-year history of CenturyLink Center Omaha, and largest for the Bluejays at any site since a 106-50 win vs. Texas-Arlington at the Omaha Civic Auditorium to open the 2002-03 campaign.
Creighton improved to 4-0 for the second straight season, while Longwood dropped to 0-4. The Bluejays face Wisconsin on Friday before taking on either Arizona State or Arkansas on Saturday at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
After the teams traded scores twice in the opening two minutes, Creighton broke free with an 11-0 run that featured scoring from four different men. The Lancers trailed 25-15 at the third media timeout before CU unveiled a 12-0 flurry featuring seven points by Austin Chatman. Creighton took its largest lead of the half at 51-21 on Avery Dingman’s three-pointer in transition, and led 53-24 at the break when officials counted Doug McDermott’s tip-in at the buzzer.
Creighton shot 65.4 percent in the opening half, making 17-of-26 shots, while also outscoring the Lancers 14-3 at the line. McDermott’s 12 points led CU at the break. Longwood’s front line was in foul trouble from the onset, as star freshman Michael Kessens picked up his fourth foul with 4:24 to play in the first half.
Kessens fouled out at the 18:43 mark of the second half, and the Lancers got no closer than 25 after intermission. The Bluejays reached the century mark for the first time in 2012-13 on a Geoffrey Groselle lay-up with 1:46 to play and built its largest lead at 105-55 with 31 seconds left on another Groselle basket inside.
Creighton had four players, all 6-foot-7 or taller, score in double-figures. Gregory Echenique and McDermott both scored 17 points, while Will Artino and Ethan Wragge both scored 13 on the evening. Artino’s 13 points tied a career-high, done in his Bluejay debut last season vs. North Carolina A&T.
The Bluejays shot 64.8 percent in the game, making 35-of-54 shots, and are now shooting 57 percent from the floor this season. Creighton’s smallest player, Chatman, led the team with seven rebounds, while Grant Gibbs dished a team-best six assists.
Longwood was paced by 19 points and eight rebounds from Jeylani Dublin, who played 28 minutes despite picking a pair of fouls in the first two minutes. The Lancers shot 37.9 percent for the game, including 18.8 percent from downtown, and had 19 turnovers against just 14 assists.
Creighton’s game vs. Wisconsin in Las Vegas will tip at 7 pm local (9 pm Central) and be televised nationwide on ESPN2.