Game Recap: Creighton 68, California 54

Eric Francis

Creighton welcomed California for a PAC 12-BIG EAST showdown in Omaha on Sunday evening. What followed was more of the same of what we have seen from the Bluejays at home in the 2013-14 season.

Doug McDermott scored 20 points and collected 11 rebounds on his way to helping Creighton pick up their ninth victory of the season. The Bluejays took care of business in a non-conference test against the California Golden Bears of the PAC 12 Conference. They tallied this victory by the score of 68-54, but it did not come without a challenge.

It was truly a tale of two halves, as the Bluejays and Golden Bears struggled mightily to start the game. In the first half, both teams shot under 40 percent, with Creighton converting only 36.7 percent of their 30 attempts from the field, and California was able to only muster 33.3 percent of their 24 attempts to fall. The first 20 minutes definitely showed off a lot of defensive prowess on both ends, and also a great deal of missed opportunities. Uncharacteristically, the Bluejays were held to 31.8 percent from the perimeter, including an anemic 23.1 percent 3 PT FG% in the first half.

But the Bluejays were able to persevere and shot much better in all phases of the game in the second half. The Bluejays shot 53.8 percent on 26 attempts. From the perimeter, the Bluejays took less shots than they did in the first half, and got most of those shots to fall, shooting 44.4 percent from the 3-point line on just nine attempts.

As for California, Creighton was able to hold them to under 40 percent shooting in the second half from the field (38.7 FG%), and to just 25 percent from the 3-point line. Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon, two players that had to be accounted for coming into this game, were both held in check for much of the evening. Solomon only scored six points and while Cobbs picked up 13 points and was 5-7 from the free throw line, he was very inefficient, shooting just 4-11 from the field.

Certainly, the Golden Bears do not consider themselves sharpshooters from the arc, coming into the game shooting just 32.7 percent. But, credit is given when it is due, and the Bluejays had themselves a very solid defensive performance on Sunday evening.

Elsewhere from McDermott, Creighton picked up huge contributions from Jahenns Manigat and Austin Chatman. Both found themselves close to double figures on the night, with Chatman scoring 11 points and Manigat coming away with seven points. Chatman was only 2-4 from the field, but was an impressive 6-6 from the FT line. Chatman contributed five rebounds, all defensive, and dished out two assists with a steal as well.

Creighton's back court slicing and dicing like this has been a rarity this season but the Bluejays were lucky enough to get big contributions from both men on Sunday evening. While the way that they play does not necessarily suggest that they could provide an impact like this night in and night out, it certainly is welcoming to see Manigat and Chatman score and contribute in other areas so much.

The 9-2 Creighton Bluejays will now turn their attention to the Chicago State Cougars next Sunday evening in their last non-conference game of the season.

Grading the Bluejays

Doug McDermott B+ Doug picked up yet another double-double this season, scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. But his rare inefficiency from the field and from the 3-point line keeps him stuck at thi sgrade. Credit to the California Golden Bears for holding him under 50 percent shooting.
Austin Chatman A- It was perhaps Austin Chatman's best game of the season. He played defense, he scored points (11 of them), he grabbed rebounds, (five of them) assisted twice, and picked up a steal, too. A well-rounded performance deserving of recognition.
Grant Gibbs B+ GIbbs also had a very well rounded performance. In 39 minutes of play, a team-high on the night, he scored 10, grabbed six rebounds, assisted thrice and shot 57.1 percent from the field on seven attempts. His improvements as the season has gone on have been a big reason why the Bluejays have done so well offensively.
Jahenns Manigat B+ Another player who showed a lot of flashes in a top-notch performance. Seven points, three assits and three rebounds later, Manigat played well in just 18 minutes of game time.
Ethan Wragge B- In 33 minutes, Wragge scored nine points, had four rebounds and an assist. But, for the second consecutive game, the sharpshooting senior was relatively inefficient from the perimeter. He shot just 33.3 percent from the arc on nine attempts, and you have to wonder if maybe this is getting to be a little bit concerning.
Devin Brooks B-/C+ Brooks is getting there, that's for sure. After going through a series of struggles, he came out of that slump in Creighton's last contest against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Sunday night, Brooks was 2-6 from the field, scoring only two points, but he picked up two rebounds and three assists. He did, though, show some playmaking abilities and he is trending upwards.
Greg McDermott A A very solid job with rotations on Sunday evening, a good series of offensive sets and a terrific defensive gameplan earns McDermott an A on the night. Short and sweet.
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