Omaha, NE (Sports Network) - The Drake Bulldogs face a huge challenge as they
visit the CenturyLink Center Omaha to take on the No. 13 Creighton Bluejays in
a Missouri Valley Conference tilt.
After finishing up its non-conference slate with a 6-5 record, Drake lost its
first three MVC contests to Bradley (67-57), Wichita State (75-63), and
Missouri State (77-65) to fall back below the .500 mark. The Bulldogs are one
of the top 3-point shooting teams in the nation with a 39.1 percent clip from
beyond the arc, which has led to 73.1 points per game. Coach Mark Phelps's
squad needs to toughen up on the defensive end, where it is allowing 72.3 ppg.
Greg McDermott's Bluejays are 14-1 after reeling off their eighth straight
victory on Saturday by downing Indiana State, 79-66, at home. Creighton has
defeated all but one of its opponents by double-digit margins so far,
including Saint Joseph's, Nebraska, Evansville, and California. The Bluejays
lead the MVC in scoring offense with 79.5 points per game and they are also
third in scoring defense with an allowed average of just 62.4 ppg.
Creighton leads the all-time series with Drake by a 92-58 margin, including a
55-19 mark in Omaha. CUs 92 wins and 150 meetings with Drake are easily the
most played against any other opponent.
In its loss to Missouri State, Drake shot 41.8 percent from the field and 28.6
percent from downtown while the Bears were 51.0 percent from the field and
44.4 percent from long-range. Freshman Joey King scored 21 points and grabbed
seven rebounds off the bench for the Bulldogs. Ben Simons managed 17 points to
increase he team-leading scoring average to 14.6 ppg and make it 13-of-14
games he has reached double figures. Junior center Seth VanDeest is second on
the squad in points per game (11.1), while Jordan Clarke (7.9 ppg) is second
in the MVC in rebounding with 8.2 boards per outing.
Creighton has been able to collect wins easily this season due to the stellar
play of junior forward Doug McDermott. The 6-foot-8, All-American is producing
23.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest with a deadly .485 3-point field goal
percentage. McDermott guided the Bluejays past the Sycamores with 25 points
and nine rebounds, while senior center Gregory Echenique netted 16 points to
go along with nine boards. Although McDermott is sensational, it is clear
Creighton is much more than a one-man-show with Echenique, Grant Gibbs, Austin
Chatman, and Ethan Wragge all contributing regularly.
The Sports Network