The final game of the night in college basketball featured two teams playing their Big East opener, with Marquette visiting Creighton in a battle of teams expected to contend for the league crown. Ultimately the game would turn into a rout, with the combination of Creighton’s three-point shooting and Marquette’s offensive issues resulting in a 67-49 Bluejay victory.
Doug McDermott led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds, with Jahenns Manigat (16 points, six assists) and Ethan Wragge (12) knocking down four three-pointers apiece. As a team Creighton shot 13-for-35 from beyond the arc, outscoring the Golden Eagles 39-6 on three-pointers. And given Marquette’s shooting issues, as they entered the game shooting 31.1% from deep and scoring just 19% of their points on the three-point shot (per kenpom.com), this proved to be entirely too much to overcome.
Creighton didn’t shoot a high percentage from the field, making just 40% of their shots. But Greg McDermott’s team does a good job of finding shots, with their ability to work the ball around the perimeter via the pass or “drive and kick” approach resulting in quality looks. They’re a very difficult team to defend, but the more important development moving forward for the Bluejays is what they were able to do defensively.
Is Marquette an offensive juggernaut? Absolutely not. But for a program that places such a high value on “paint touches,” the Golden Eagles only scored four more points in the paint than Creighton (28-24). Marquette is still searching for answers offensively, and Creighton didn’t allow them the chances necessary to do so on Tuesday night.
It’s going to be interesting to see how both teams learn from Tuesday’s result, especially a Marquette team whose best win this point in the season came at the expense of George Washington in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy in November. As for Creighton, in front of a sold-out crowd (outside of shooting a little better from the field overall) they really couldn’t ask for a better start to life in the Big East.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.